The open sign will be closed permanently on Sept. 26 for Milburn HealthMart Pharmacy. Ed Walker, the owner of the pharmacy for the past 23 years, announced the closing Friday morning. Staff photo by Kristi Sanders
The open sign will be closed permanently on Sept. 26 for Milburn HealthMart Pharmacy. Ed Walker, the owner of the pharmacy for the past 23 years, announced the closing Friday morning. Staff photo by Kristi Sanders
local pharmacy will close its doors later this month, after opening in 1928.

Ed Walker, the owner of Milburn HealthMart Pharmacy for the past 23 years, announced the closing Friday morning.

“Last night I held a store meeting and announced first that we were nominated for National HealthMart Pharmacy of the Year, but that I had declined the honor,” Walker said. “I then had to give the bad news.”

Milburn HealthMart Pharmacy has been sold to CVS Pharmacy. The last day of operation will be Sept. 26.

“It is a sad day for me and my family, for the Milburn Pharmacy family and I believe for the community,” Walker said.

Walker explained this wasn’t a decision made lightly but changing healthcare policies are a major part of the decision.

“During the last three years, the reimbursement model for pharmacies has drastically changed and the lack of profit margins have made long term sustainability very difficult,” Walker said. “I would have to lay off several employees to remain profitable, making it hard to offer the level of service I want to offer my customers.”

While Walker hates to leave an empty storefront on the Sullivan courthouse square, he said he tried to keep the store in use.

“I hate leaving the downtown square with another loss and I tried to get CVS to use my location,” Walker said. “The initial Letter of Intent for them to purchase me required them to use my location.”

However, after talks and visiting the store, CVS had concerns.

“… They had concerns about parking, which is a real concern, and store size and withdrew that offer,” Walker said. “This past month they did a total store remodel in preparation of the acquisition.”

Another local business will also be taking over part of the 3,000 pharmacy customers served every month Walker said.

“Anderson Medical, in Terre Haute, will take over the medical equipment and supply part of the business,” Walker said. “They had hoped to just open a branch here in Sullivan and operate it out of the current location on the square, but last Tuesday they decided it was not financially and operationally feasible to do that and so they will just absorb it into their Terre Haute location.”

Both buyers interviewed pharmacy employees on Friday. There are currently 23 employees with the pharmacy.

“(They are) willing to hire as many of my current employees as they can,” Walker said.
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