After 50 years as a staple of the St. Charles Parish community, Destrehan Pharmacy will close its doors on Jan. 16.
“It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my entire life,” said store owner B.J. Burkenstock, who represents the third generation of his family at the helm of a business that was passed down from his grandfather to his father, and his father to him in 2012.
While Burkenstock and store manager Steven Faucheaux said it’s been an emotional and difficult time, they also noted they have done their best to celebrate the bond within the store and community that allowed the business to thrive for such a long time.
“We want everyone to know how appreciative we are for everything they’ve done for us. We had a great time taking care of so many patients in the community, and they’re the reason we’ve been here for so long,” Burkenstock said. “They’ve given us so much over the years.”
Burkenstock said the pharmacy improved its outlook when it moved into its new, larger building location along Airline Highway, the fourth location within the parish the pharmacy has held over its tenure. It allowed for additional inventory, parking and new amenities like a drive-thru window that proved a hit with customers, but the changing landscape of the business ultimately led to the store’s end.
“(Moving into the new building) was an effort to continue on with the legacy and the business … it worked to a certain extent,” he said. “We tried everything we could, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t sustainable any longer.”
“It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my entire life.” – B.J. Burkenstock
Faucheaux said while the cliché often goes “it’s just business,” that was never how the pharmacy approached customers or employees alike.
“It’s a family on both sides of the counter,” Faucheaux said. “The patients talk to us like family and we work together like family. It was a tough decision … all we can do now is show love and appreciation for the support everyone’s ever given us.”
Customers of the pharmacy will be able to fill and pickup prescriptions until Jan. 16, then after that day all records will transfer to CVS, which purchased the business.
The business was established in 1966 and run by three generations of Burkenstock’s family, including his grandfather Lloyd and father Bruce Sr. It celebrated 50 years of business in 2016, but has become the latest in a growing number of independent pharmacies nationwide to close its doors. According to a report by U.S. News and World Report, 16 percent of independent rural pharmacies have closed since 2003, a total of 1,230 stores (those numbers running through July of 2018). Citing numbers collected by the RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis, the report also noted in a number of areas, 630 rural communities that had at least one independent, chain or retail pharmacy in 2003 had none by March 2018.
Both Burkenstock and Faucheaux said that though it’s time is coming to an end, they’re proud of what the business stood for over the years, as well as its long run as a staple of the community.
“To have continued the legacy of Destrehan Pharmacy as long as we did, I think it means we were really loved and respected in our community,” Faucheaux said.
“For that, we can’t thank everyone enough.”