The Ritzman Pharmacy at NEOMED in Rootstown will remain open despite the company closing down most of its stores.
The family chain announced earlier this week it will close 17 locations throughout Northeast Ohio. Patients and files will be transferred to CVS stores.
Ritzman partnered with NEOMED back in 2016 to open a store on campus. The pharmacy not only gives students hands-on experience, but provides services to customers throughout Portage County.
Dean of Pharmacy Richard Kasmer said NEOMED will now become full owner of the store and continue to operate it.
“You may see a new name appear, you know, we’re going to work on how best to re-brand that so it’s an ongoing business that’s of interest to our community," Kasmer said. "We’re probably going to be having some enhancements at this coming location that probably will come in the future, so maybe a drive-thru window, and some other things you may see that will be of value to our community. It’s an ongoing venture we’re looking to continue.”
After Ritzman's announcement, some wondered whether small, family-owned chains have a place in the future of pharmaceuticals.
Kasmer said they absolutely do.
“I think just the closing of one chain does not mean independent pharmacy practice is on its way out the door," he said. There is always going to be a cohort of pharmacists that prefer this type of professional practice, in essence, because it’s a little smaller, I honestly think it’s more personal, and very much patient-centered at the end of the day.”
Ritzman's started in 1950 with one store in Wadsworth. The company had operations in eight counties including Medina, Summit, Portage, Stark, Ashland, Holmes, Tuscarawas and Wayne.