Shawnee closure: Richards Drug era to end with 2020

By Vicky O. Misa | | (405) 214-3962 | Twitter: @Vicky_NewsStar
The Shawnee News-Star
Richards Drug, at 324 E. Main Street in Shawnee, just announced it will be closing forever Friday.

At 324 E. Main in Shawnee, local pharmacy Richards Drug has served the community for more than 80 years, first opening its doors in 1939. That service, however, will come to a close this week as the business has just announced its intention to shutter them for good, come Friday.

“It is with heartfelt sadness we tell you that December 31 will be our last day of business,” a Facebook post from Richards Drug read early Monday afternoon. “We are eternally grateful for your patronage and friendship throughout the years.”

Within the hour the longtime pharmacy's post had received more than 80 comments and 85 shares.

The drugstore cited a few reasons for the impending closure.

“Remaining open is not feasible,” the post read. “Some contributing factors are Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) as well as insurance companies making it impossible with their reimbursement (or lack thereof) to be a preferred pharmacy.”

Also declared in the post was, “the practice of not allowing a patient the right to choose one’s pharmacy is against the law in the state of Oklahoma (see HB 2632).”

What followed was a plea for residents to support independent pharmacies.

“Your small businesses have been supporting our communities for many years,” the post read. “Your independent pharmacies need your support.”

The Facebook message also stated, “although it will not help (Richards Drug), please contact your legislators and the state insurance commissioner and voice your concern regarding the enforcement of HB 2632.”

Customers with existing prescriptions were directed to another area business.

“Effective Jan. 1, 2021 we are turning our files over to The Clinic Pharmacy,” the post read.

Signed by Jamie Barrick, Gordon Richards, Jr. and staff, a final note of apology followed.

“We are so thankful for your friendship and patronage,” the post read.

Resident reactions

Toni Sellers Inglis replied, “I’m so sad! My dad worked there doing deliveries for over 40 years, and we grew up in that store. Jamie has always been my go-to with questions and always went above and beyond for our family. I love you guys and I’m so sorry it came to this.”

Meg Brownell said, “... my parents have been customers since 1947.”

Toni Biggs responded with, “Thank you all for your services to the community, I have loved the pharmacy since I was a toddler and y'all were fantastic with my great grandmother Belle Stout, y'all will be missed tremendously!”

Michelle Hackney Wallace said, “I’m am saddened to the core. I can’t thank you enough for the incredible service and friendship you all have provided over the years. My heart is broken.”

April Craig Stobbe said, “Another reason to add to why 2020 sucks.”

John D. Rusty Williams replied, “This hurts our way of life. The corporate powers buy the laws and regulations they want to corner the market and starve out small businesses that give flavor and soul and heart to our communities. I thank you all for supplying my needs in a business where I loved to go. … God’s best to you and all who struggle with the current corporate reality. Love you.”

Ken Stafford said, “Such a shame this is happening. Small business has always been the backbone of our community. I fear for our future. Thanks so much for your support over the years.”

Sherri Lynn Shaw Bowers said, “My insurance company has forced me to use the huge chain pharmacy! I do not like using them! They are over priced & they miss things that I'm allergic to! I hate to see you guys close! This is so very sad. Thank you for all the years you have provided personal service to our community!”

Sharon Lawrence Brown replied, “This is so sad Paul. Richards Drug was a Shawnee institution.”