By Solomon Gustavo
COKATO, MN - Locally owned and operated by pharmacists Kelly and Deb Keaveny for the past 25 years, Keaveny Drug will close its Cokato Town Center Mall location Friday, Oct. 2, making way for the opening of the Shopko pharmacy Sunday, Oct. 4.
Prior to construction of its new store in Cokato, Shopko struck an agreement with the Keavenys.
Under the agreement, Keaveny Drug will close its doors in Cokato, but may still operate its pharmacies in Winsted and Annandale.
Kelly will be hired as a Shopko pharmacist, and Keaveny Drug employees will also have the opportunity to work for Shopko.
“It’s a way to keep Cokato’s pharmacists taking care of people in Cokato,” Deb said.
Cokato’s transition from Keaveny Drug to Shopko’s pharmacy for prescription service will include transfer of client files and prescriptions. Cokato residents and frequent Keaveny Drug patrons can expect, to some degree, the same personal and familiar service, although Kelly noted there will be a learning curve for everyone in getting accustomed to Shopko’s pharmaceutical system.
“We need time to get up to speed,” Kelly said. “What we do now is habitual.”
Keaveny Drug has been in Kelly’s family since 1933, but he is no stranger to corporate infrastructure, cutting his big-box teeth working for Walmart for five years.
Deb said most Keaveny Drug employees will be making the move to Shopko. She also noted that the “town is too small to support two pharmacies,” and that “Shopko is going to offer many more categories and merchandise that we couldn’t here and still have a pharmacy.”
Expressing what she described as “mixed feelings,” Deb said the community’s pharmaceutical needs were their priority in finalizing the agreement with Shopko.
“It’s a little sad,” Deb said, but the transition will ultimately “be a good thing for the community.”
Deb will run operations for the Winsted and Annandale locations, while Kelly, although free to work at either location, will be working primarily at the Cokato Shopko.
Shopko pharmacy hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and closedSunday.