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Keene's last independent pharmacy closes its doors

Sunday News Correspondent

March 31. 2018 11:20PM
Keene's last independent pharmacy, The Apothecary, closed Friday, March 30, 2018. (Meghan Pierce/Sunday News Correspondent)

KEENE - The city's last independent pharmacy, The Apothecary, closed Friday.

"It's an end of an era, because we are the last independent in this town," said Susie Harris, pharmacist-in-charge.

Harris, Mary Roentsch, The Apothecary's owner and widow of founder George Roentsch, and store manager Sue O'Neil say it's time to retire.

"I'm 67 years old," Roentsch said. "It's time. This is my third career."

Roentsch has worked at the Apothecary since 2009. Harris for the past 23 years. O'Neil, who was hired when she was 16, has been at The Apothecary the longest.

In the small Main Street shop Wednesday, the three women cleaned the store, sold what was left of the stock at a discount and said goodbye to longtime customers. Some customers dropped off flowers and food for the women.

"What a service to the community," longtime customer Sally Washington said. "You just can't find this type of a service anywhere. Nice people, and the compounded products. We're going to miss you so much, but we wish you the very best."

Harris said they had planned to retire in two years, but came across the opportunity to sell their formulas and customer base to a compounding pharmacist in Littleton - David A. Rochefort, owner of Eastern States Compounding.

"I think you go out on a high and business is great. That's why he was interested," Harris said.

Compounded medications are usually not covered by health insurance, Harris said, but it is a way to be very dose specific, which is a plus with medications such as hormone replacement and pain medications.

"The only reason we have been able to stay with it as long is because our compounding has just escalated," Harris said. "See, we do human and veterinary compounding and it fills a real need in this area - this whole area - not just Keene."

George Roentsch, who died in 2011, founded The Apothecary in 1969.

"I'm just really going to miss the customers," Harris said. "They've just been like family."

Pharmacist Susie Harris, owner Mary Roentsch and manager Sue O'Neil said farewell to customers last week at The Apothecary in Keene. (Meghan Pierce/Sunday News Correspondent)

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