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Generations of loyal customers keep HL Drug viable

Howard Lake Drug is celebrating 95 years of providing the community with all its pharmaceutical needs.

Being only the third set of owners since the business opened in 1917, the Ringolds purchased the pharmacy in 1978, and John became the friendly pharmacist behind the counter.

Before the Ringolds, Wesley A. Scheer and Richard E. Bushey were the pharmacists from 1917 to 1948, after which Bob and Ruth Rekedal owned the business.

The success and longevity of the pharmacy can be attributed to its loyal customer base, noted John’s wife, Marilyn.

Although the Ringolds did not come to Howard Lake until purchasing the pharmacy, they have since become a part of the community, and the community has become a part of them, John said.

Generations of families have been loyal customers, and the Ringolds find themselves serving the children and grandchildren of current and former customers.

By shopping local, customers keep money in town, maintaining the quality of life and the services needed, and creating a viable community, Marilyn noted.

“One of the biggest things we experience is (local) customers who doctor in the Twin Cities, but drive back here, passing numerous pharmacies on the way, to fill their prescriptions,” John said.

He noted some even drive past their homes in Waverly to fill their prescriptions at Howard Lake Drug, and then drive back home.

Local businesses also offer employment opportunities to people in the community, Marilyn noted, adding that Howard Lake Drug has seven part-time employees.

The pharmacy is indicative of am old small-town, corner pharmacy, but offers everything available modern, chain pharmacies.

Being fully computerized assists the Ringolds in taking care of all ones pharmaceutical needs, including prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines.

The store also carries durable medical equipment and Dr. Comfort shoes for Medicare patients.

Howard Lake Drug also offers its customers more than they might expect from a small-town pharmacy.

Gift-giving is a breeze with the numerous gifts that can be found throughout Howard Lake Drug, such as scarves, children’s books, books by local authors, crystal pieces, frames, candles, and Abdallah candies.

A wide range of collectibles, such as Precious Moments, Jim Shore, and Foundations are available, as well as Christian gifts and jewelry.

The store also has a small grocery section, and carries office supplies.

Another service offered to customers is drop-off and pick-up service for dry cleaning at the Buffalo Cleaners.

And one cannot forget the perfect hang-out spot at the soda fountain, and the famous “Mud Ball Sundae,” which will be offered free to customers during the 95th Anniversary open house Saturday, Nov. 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., along with other in-store specials.

Be sure to check out the history which lines the walls and top shelves of the drug store while enjoying a sundae.

“It’s rewarding to be a part of this community, providing a service that people need,” Marilyn said.

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