With the closing of the pharmacy in the Shopko in Calumet, many residents in northern Houghton County and Keweenaw County are having their prescriptions filled at Aspirus Keweenaw in Laurium.
Director of Pharmacy Jessica Bessner said they started seeing an influx of new customers in January and have doubled their volume since last month.
Bessner says although the sudden increase in customers may have caught them off guard, they are taking steps to handle the overflow. “We’re looking at technological advancements, so some automation to improve the workflow a little bit better. We’re looking at increased staff. We’re looking at hours and capacity of our physical location,” said Bessner. “We’ve not solidified anything because we wanted really to focus on stabilizing the growth and taking care of the patients who really needed to be taken care of right away.”
Aspirus offers free prescription delivery, after-hours refill requests, automatic call backs when prescriptions are ready, and have expanded the number of insurance companies they accept to accommodate former Shopko customers.
Bessner says the staff as their pharmacy is working hard to meet the needs of the community. “We have an amazing team in that pharmacy who has really, really done a lot to help accommodate a lot of our patients up here with very little notice,” she said. “Aspirus is very proud to be able to provide pharmacy services to our patients and we take that responsibility very seriously.”
Shopko transferred local customer files to Walgreens in Houghton, but that can be a long distance to travel for many residents in the northern part of the peninsula.
Staff members can help customers move prescription orders over to Aspirus by calling their pharmacy at (906) 337-6575.
Customers can also contact the apothecary at UP Health System-Portage in Hancock, which offers free delivery to Chassell, Painesdale, Mohawk, Lake Linden, Calumet and nearby areas, by calling (906) 483-1818.