Pharmacy now available at Christina Lake

Shara JJ Cooper
By Shara JJ Cooper
May 17th, 2013

Christina Lake’s Pharamsave is officially open. Although the business opened its doors on March 11, the grand opening was held May 17 with treats available for anyone who stopped by.

“It’s been going great,” said front store manager Shannon Lahti, adding they had seen at least 70 people in the first part of the day.

The Pharmasave fills a much needed gap in the lake’s resources.

“This has been talked about for years,” said pharmacist Laura Carlson, who owns the business with her husband Graeme.

The store was opened in an existing, but unfinished, structure right off the highway. For 15 years the building sat empty before the Carlsons decided to go ahead and open the Pharmasave.

“They had wanted more medical facilities (like a pharmacy),” said Carlson, of the original plans. When they started building, there was still a dirt floor inside.

A pharmacy is something residents have been dreaming about for years, she said. Even though Christina Lake is a short drive to Grand Forks, it added up when you did it regularly. This was frustrating because residents could see a doctor at the lake but would still have to travel for their medication.

“It’s not very far but if you drive it all the time it adds up,” said Carlson, adding it’s 20 minutes each way but most people end up doing more while they are out, which can take several hours.

Carlson and her husband also own the Pharamsave in Grand Forks and they knew how much a pharmacy was needed at the lake. They planned carefully and made sure all their prices were the same at both locations so customers didn’t feel they were missing out on better deals in Grand Forks.

“We are keeping the prices the same,” said Lahti. “We aren’t going to charge a premium just to get tourists to pay more.”

The store offers all the same products as the bigger store in Grand Forks with only a few exceptions. The gift and cosmetic sections are a bit smaller. The flyers that go out to the residents will be valid regardless of which store consumers choose to shop at.

Another difference is the hours, the store isn’t open on weekends because they won’t have a pharmacist on staff.

“There isn’t a doctor in here on the weekend so if they get a prescription they will be in Grand Forks anyway,” said Carlson, adding she may decide to open the store on Saturdays during the summer months.

Residents and snow birds are thrilled to see the store has opened, said Lahti.

“Moms were texting each other saying they could go and get couch medicine (in town),” she said, adding it’s much easier for parents to get things like medicine instead of rushing into Grand Forks with a sick child.

Medicine isn’t the only thing shoppers are happy to have on hand. When the store first opened in March, they were selling a lot of anti-histamines. Now that the weather is warmer, the sunscreen and bug repellent is flying off the shelves, said Lahti.

For anyone wanting to check out the new store, it’s open Monday to Friday from 9 to 5 p.m.