Port Townsend fixture pharmacy to be sold

Posted 1/20/21

For 60 years the Hoglund family has served as Port Townsend’s pre-eminent purveyors of pills, powders and other potions to palliate their loyal patrons.

Those days are numbered though, as …

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Port Townsend fixture pharmacy to be sold

Posted

For 60 years the Hoglund family has served as Port Townsend’s pre-eminent purveyors of pills, powders and other potions to palliate their loyal patrons.

Those days are numbered though, as Don Hoglund Jr. has recently announced his plans to sell the business.   

Don’s Pharmacy first began when Don Hoglund Sr. bought what was previously known as Baker Drug in 1961, following the passing of the store’s original owner Harry Baker.

Hoglund Sr. ran the store at its previous location of 910 Water St. until 1967, at which point he moved the store down to its current location in the plaza at 1151 Water St.

Hoglund’s son, Don Hoglund Jr., is the pharmacy’s most-recent proprietor. After Hoglund Sr. passed away unexpectedly, Hoglund Jr. said his mother was left to take the reins and run the business. That is, until 1984, when he graduated from college as a pharmacist.

“I came in as a pharmacist in 1984 and I’ve worked there since,” Hoglund said.

“It was a very good opportunity for me and my dad was kind of my mentor. I saw what he had done and I thought ‘I can continue this,’ so I did,” he recalled.

Hoglund attributed the pharmacy’s longevity to the strong sense of community spirit here in Port Townsend.

“That’s a testament to the community, it’s not just what we’ve done at the drug store,” Hoglund said. “There’s a tremendous amount of love in this community and it’s been a wonderful place to practice pharmacy.”

When a wholesaler once noticed that Hoglund’s purchase orders consistently increased each year, he asked for his secret for cultivating such dedicated customers.

“I said the trick is customer service. That’s the whole niche that the independent [pharmacy] has,” he said. “Being well-established, too, that helps because you develop alliances with your customer base and they end up being quite loyal.”

Hoglund said Patrick O’Donnell, the man set to take the keys, also runs Lincoln Pharmacy in Tacoma.

Hoglund said O’Donnell reached out about five years ago inquiring about a potential sale, but he wasn’t yet ready to step back.

But now, Hoglund said he is in a place where he feels that he is ready to sell and that O’Donnell will be the man to continue the legacy of Don’s Pharmacy into the future.

“Don’s Pharmacy is still going to be Don’s Pharmacy the way you know it,” O’Donnell said. “That’s an independent pharmacy that’s been operating successfully for a long time and I want it to continue to do that.”

“To come in with a whole bunch of changes, I think that’s a bad idea, that’s not what I’m looking to do,” he added.

But what will become of Don’s beloved soda fountain?

The answer to this question remains to be seen.

O’Donnell said he is not opposed to the continuation of the soda fountain inside the pharmacy, adding that if he meets the right person who is willing to take on the business, he was certainly open to seeing the fountain continue.

But for the time being, O’Donnell said the point was moot given that COVID-19 has put the kibosh on indoor dining anyway.

O’Donnell added that initially he wants to focus on how best to continue to provide the same quality services to the pharmacy’s clientele.

Hoglund will not be going anywhere anytime soon, either. While he will be transferring ownership over to O’Donnell, he said he plans to stay on as a pharmacist in order to continue serving the loyal customers who have served him so well over the years.

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Marge Samuelson

So glad the new owner is keeping the pharmacy the way we all love it. I hope the fountain returns after the Covid-19 virus is gone. The fountain, Don's advice are things I have come to depend on when picking up prescriptions. It is what we need these days. 60 years and I've been there since 1963. Good luck to the Hoglund family in their retirement years.

Wednesday, January 20