County Drugstore – Karl Sitarski

There has been a drugstore at 219 Main Street, Picton for almost 200 years. You read that right! The original opened in 1829. After being shuttered for many years, it’s a drugstore again. Pharmacist Karl Sitarski bought the building formerly known as Teasel’s in 2013 and renamed it the County Drugstore. He says:
“This building has a long history, it has been an incredible drugstore for generations, with a great reputation. But when I opened my business I started from zero. Zero customers, zero prescriptions. The previous owner had packed up and moved on years ago and it was empty a long time. When I saw it I jumped on it and purchased the building. I think people were glad to see it come alive again, and we’ve been going strong ever since.

THE SERVICES: We offer full retail pharmacy services and can dispense all prescriptions. We do some compounding and provide comprehensive pharmaceutical care to the community. We’re very involved with our patients and pride ourselves on being accessible, and I like to get to know my patients. We provide that personal touch that many people look for, some people need it more than others. When you speak to your Doctor and have a choice where to send your prescriptions, it’s good for people to know where they can find a little more personal attention. We’ve grown a lot because the community is happy with the services that we provide.

BACKGROUND: I grew up in the GTA and moved out to Winnipeg temporarily for an internship before coming back and working in Kingston for about three years. That was my transition to Eastern Ontario. I worked for various pharmacies in Kingston and also travelled to different communities. At one point I did a stint in Picton. That was a great experience, I enjoyed working with the people here and it stuck in my mind. When I wanted to start something on my own and saw this place was available, I figured it would be a perfect location. Why do I enjoy working with the people of Picton? That’s easy. You notice the amazing sense of community. Compared to urban centres, the patients are pleasant to deal with, they’re incredibly nice people, kind, polite and understanding. Nobody is in too much of a rush and nobody is too pushy, this allows me to provide the best quality care. I think they appreciate the services you give them more. There is a lot of mutual respect in a smaller community and I can’t express how much I appreciate that.The first couple of months were a challenge, obviously, but once word of mouth began to spread, people told their friends and family we do a good job and things picked up. I was pleasantly surprised with how it progressed. After five years I still love working in Picton. I am happy to see what’s happening in the town and in The County. I know there are concerns, but I see good things happening and more good things to come!

TRENDING: I’d say one-on-one care is very important. Dealing with a geriatric population means dealing with complicated medication profiles. You really need to take the time to do it right and have everything figured out. Some patients require more time with the Pharmacist. It’s important to be there and do that for those patients. It takes quite a bit of work to manage prescription files properly. Doctors and Nurse Practitioners do the prescribing, but the pharmacy profession is evolving so that Pharmacists are taking on a very clinical role. The Pharmacist manages drug interactions, the dosing and the appropriateness of therapy. We are far more involved today in managing patients’ medications and their health in general.  We work closely with Doctors and Nurse Practitioners, make recommendations, get involved in optimizing drug therapy and even work to substitute drugs that might be a better alternative for the patient. We look at the therapeutics, that is very important today, making sure everything makes sense clinically for the individual patient and their specific needs. Physicians have a great understanding of health care in general, but when it comes to drugs and medications, Pharmacists are there to assist and sometimes to lead that.

FUTURE PLANS: I plan to grow the pharmacy. We are growing organically as time goes by and the community is happy with what we’re doing. As to the store itself, I will certainly open up the front store if I need to. There’s enough room to put in a bigger front store to offer more over the counter products. I may even get into home healthcare one day if the need is there. When I opened I was alone in the store, handling the few prescriptions I got. Now I employ three incredibly talented full-time Pharmacy Assistants and a very sharp part-time Pharmacist, it took a lot of hard work on everybody’s part to get to this point and I can’t be any happier with my wonderful co-workers.  In my eyes they are truly “indispensable”. There is a lot of opportunity in The County. It is growing, as we can see. New sectors are growing and emerging as new people move in from other parts of Ontario. Some of them require services that maybe the people who lived here before didn’t need or demand. That is opening up all sorts of opportunities. I’m proud to be part of it!

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