BERRYVILLE — The town’s only independently-owned drug store has gone out of business.
Battletown Pharmacy, at 33 W. Main St. in downtown Berryville, officially closed on Aug. 26. However, the store reopened a couple of times through Sept. 26 to sell remaining over-the-counter medications, as well as furnishings and decorations.
The pharmacy was one of two in Berryville. The remaining one is Reed’s Pharmacy on Crow Street. That store is part of a small chain of pharmacies in five localities in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, its website shows.
Battletown’s owner and pharmacist, Patricia White, said financial matters prompted her to make the decision to close her store.
“We didn’t get very good prices” on prescription drugs and other medical products from suppliers, White said in an interview Monday afternoon. “It just wasn’t working.”
Chains are able to buy products in bulk, which saves them money, she said.
In contrast, Battletown had to buy its merchandise “by the bottle,” she continued, which was costlier.
Insurance matters also factored into her decision to close the store.
Health insurance companies decide for themselves how much they reimburse pharmacies for prescription drugs sold to customers, regardless of whether it’s enough to cover stores’ operating costs. That is especially hard on independent pharmacies, according to a post on Battletown’s Facebook page.
White said most of her customers were disappointed to see the store close, but they understood the reasoning.
“They’ve been really quite warm” in expressing well wishes, she said. Customers and staff “were like a family.”
Battletown Pharmacy had been in business since 2013.
White’s father, Eugene V. White, previously operated a pharmacy in Berryville. After he died in 2011, White and her mother, Laura LaFontaine White, decided to open Battletown “to keep the White (family) tradition of patient-centered care strong,” according to an article on Virginia Commonwealth University’s website. White is a graduate of the university’s School of Pharmacy.
The majority of her customers’ accounts have been transferred to other pharmacies in the area, she said.
Her store’s building is now available for lease.
In the independent pharmacy profession, when a store owner decides to leave the business, “most people sell” to another pharmacist, White explained. “I just closed.”
She talked to two prospective buyers before the closing, she said, but neither chose to buy the store.
Some shelving remains. “It’s in perfect shape,” White said. Anyone interested in buying it can call her at 540 955-0500.
At 70, White considers herself officially retired now. She said she plans on spending much of her free time with her two grandchildren.