TONASKET- Whitestone Pharmacy held an Open House on Saturday, Dec. 7, welcoming the community to visit Tonasket’s new incoming pharmacy, located at 316 S. Whitcomb Ave, projected to open their doors sometime in January 2020.
Just over a year ago, in late November 2018, a long line gathered at the closed doors of what was formerly known for many years as Roy’s Pharmacy for a clearance sale. The line was filled with people, still in disbelief and had many questions of what the community would do without a pharmacy.
This time a long line gathered at those same front doors but to instead get a glimpse of the much anticipated Whitestone Pharmacy and to get a chance to mingle with the owners, Mike and Stephanie Steinman.
“We are excited about this pharmacy and how it will help the people and businesses of Tonasket,” she said.
“We were happy with operating one pharmacy in Oroville and did not expect for Roy’s to close. After the town found itself without a pharmacy, many approached us and asked us to help get a pharmacy back in town,” she said.
According to Steinman, without the presence of a pharmacy, many businesses were hurting and people were finding it difficult to get prescriptions.
“Knowing the process of opening a pharmacy, we felt a responsibility to our town to make sure a pharmacy could open as soon as possible. When we realized that the first attempt at bringing a pharmacy back to town was not moving forward, we began to look at other options to ensure Tonasket would get a pharmacy,” said Steinman.
Seeing the great need in the community, Steinman said her husband’s parents, Randy and Lynda Steinman, decided to partner with them to help make the pharmacy possible.
“They saw how much we cared for the community and wanted to help. We all sat down with Dave, Ryan and Stacey Kester in August to discuss if they might have space available for us to lease in one of their buildings. They had to make some changes to their original remodel plans, but we were able to come to an agreement with them and began to move forward as quickly as possible to get a pharmacy open. We work with local businesses and people as much as we possibly can to ensure that we are supporting the community,” said Steinman.
The husband and wife duo have worked in healthcare for many years and moved their family to Tonasket in 2015.
“I have been an RN for nearly 11 years and worked at Confluence Health from October 2016 until December 2018. Mike has been practicing as a pharmacist for 20 years this coming January and has worked as a pharmacist in this area since 2014,” said Steinman.
“We both love being a part of the communities in Tonasket and Oroville. We wish we would have moved here sooner,” said Steinman.
The Steinman’s son is almost 19 and graduated from Tonasket High School this past year, and is now attending Washington State University. Their daughter is 17 and has participated in an online homeschool program while living in Tonasket. She volunteers at NO Paws Left Behind with her father two nights each week.
Steinman says they are members of the Tonasket/Okanogan Valley Lions Club and she is the Secretary/Treasurer of the Oroville Chamber of Commerce.
According to Steinman, the community can expect quality customer service and a pharmacy that cares.
“We are local and want to serve our neighbors and friends and provide the care we would want for our family. I know that I want healthcare providers who know me and actually care about me. This is what we provide that mail order or large companies can’t provide. It’s not necessarily their fault, but this is the beauty of local businesses in small towns. People will also know that money they spend at Whitestone goes back into this community. We donate to local charities and schools and spend our money locally as much as possible,” said Steinman.
While the pharmacy is located in the same building of the former Roy’s Pharmacy, Steinman said with the remodel, many people do not recognize the building and are surprised it’s the same location.
“It feels a little odd to be in the same building as the local pharmacy was in for all those years before, but it also feels like we are making Lee Frank’s Country Square whole again. We just learned about the concept of the country square this summer. It was designed to have everything people needed in a central location. By opening in the same location, it brings back a service for people that is needed in a convenient location,” said Steinman.
Steinman said many people have asked them if they will be closed for lunch once they open.
“No, we will not. When we open, we will be open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m,” said Steinman.
Steinman said the pharmacy will not be open Saturday’s at first but the plan is to eventually hire another pharmacist and to have some Saturday hours.
“We are working on building a team that will reflect our care for people and are part of this community. We hope that by having a pharmacy in town, people will go back to doing their shopping in town and it will help our local businesses,” said Steinman.
The Steinmans have reviewed multiple pharmacy software options for Whitestone Pharmacy and are excited about the software they have chosen.
“It will have features that will be beneficial for our customers and will also help with the pharmacy’s efficiency,” said Steinman.
Some of the options included with the software are options to receive text messages as soon as a prescription is ready. Also included is a website where people can view their entire medication profile and submit refill requests online. The pharmacy will have a link on their website where people can view their medication profiles and have a way for patients to make a payment on their charge accounts.
“We are really excited and look forward to announcing our opening date. We are grateful to our families and the community members who have been supportive and have helped make this happen,” said Steinman.
Local businesses who have helped the Steinmans with Whitestone Pharmacy are Lee Frank Mercantile, Ogborn Plumbing, Loomis Reclaim LLC, DJL Designs Metal & Vinyl, Patriotworks Signs & Graphics.