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Lanning puts her own touch on pharmacy

Staff writer

As Traci Lanning winds down her first month as owner of the building at 217 E. Main St., she’s finally beginning to settle in.

The longtime employee of Health Mart Pharmacy, who said it was never her goal to take over the facility, found the timing was right for her to step up when Marlin and Debbie Buchholz put the business up for sale.

Lanning had ideas for advancing what is now called Lanning Pharmacy, namely installing a new computer system that would change the way it did business. She also wanted to rearrange a few things, install a new counter, move “the coffee guys” away from the back counter a few feet, and tweak the shop’s wares a bit.

Needless to say, it’s been a busy month for Lanning.

“It probably wasn’t smart to put in a new computer system, remodel, and buy a pharmacy all at the beginning of the year,” she said. “But it had to be done.”

That meant paperwork had to be done, too. Lots of it. She’s been rifling through all kinds of agreements and licenses, all while trying to figure out how to run the day-to-day business.

“Learning a new computer system makes you slower, so I think that’s why it’s seemed that we’re busy,” she said. “Number-wise, we’ve done a little more business than normal, but it is the beginning of the month, the beginning of a new year, so that can be part of it too.”

Lanning’s had a lot of new beginnings this month. It’s a new beginning for her three boys, ages 13, 11, and 8, as their mom won’t be able to attend as many sporting events as she used to.

“One had JAM over in Hillsboro (Saturday) morning, and one played basketball at 11 a.m. here, and I’m sad that I miss out on that stuff” she said. “But we talked about it, and they were OK with knowing that I’m going to have some more responsibility down here and not be able to be at everything.”

Lanning said she hopes things will be more smooth once she gets a full staff, as she’s currently one person short. By the beginning of February, she hopes, things will be relatively normal.

Her customers may not have noticed much change. After all, Lanning’s worked at the pharmacy since 1998, so she’s a familiar face. The biggest changes have been the new counter Lanning had installed, the removal of the glass windows in the pharmacy’s stock room, and, most conveniently, that customers now have the ability to check out at the back counter instead of taking their prescriptions to the front to be rung up.

“Everybody likes that we can check out back here,” she said. “That seems to be the biggest compliment that we’ve had.”

There’s more to Lanning’s operation than what goes on at the back counter, however. She has the entire front of the store to manage now, too. Lanning said she wants to keep her stock mostly the same, only with more gift items, and less cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and that sort of thing.

Lanning has a deep respect for the business the Buchholzes established, and wants to keep the environment of the store the same.

That means keeping the coffee guys around.

Each day, a group of about 10 will gather for the 25-cent coffee available at the pharmacy. They’ll sit and chat about the day’s events, celebrate birthdays with treats, and just generally hang out for a while.

Fridays are the biggest days, Lanning said, because there’s free popcorn.

Lanning’s only concern, since she removed the windows from the back room, is how loud they are.

“When I first started working here, it didn’t have glass,” she said. “Then we put glass in and, when we took it out, I had forgotten how loud they can get.”

Lanning plans to move the coffee area about eight feet closer to the front of the store, in order to give the customers some more privacy. Lanning said the plan is to move the coffee area this weekend.

Lanning has a good rapport with the coffee guys, and doesn’t want to see them go.

“It’s entertaining,” she said. “And I don’t know what they’d do if we didn’t have it.”

Roger Hannaford, one of the coffee guys, warned her about the move, saying “we don’t like change.”

“I think he was giving me a hard time,” Lanning said.

Last modified Jan. 21, 2015

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