LUSELAND - Luseland Pharmacy has been a family-owned and -operated business for 60 years.The new pharmacist/owner is Vivek Raviya who moved to Luseland from Edmonton and took over the business Aug.1.
Brenda Einarson, former owner and pharmacist, says, “My parents- Donovan and Beverly Einarson bought the pharmacy in 1961 from Tom Eyre, moving to Luseland from Melfort when I was a newborn. My dad was the pharmacist. Under my parents' ownership it was always Luseland Pharmacy Ltd. When I took over as owner and pharmacist, it was kept as the same name as well.”
Brenda says she and her brothers, Eric and Jon, grew up in the pharmacy starting at a young age.
"It gives a child people skills, retail business experience in all areas and much more. Family businesses are special,” she says.
Brenda said she took over Luseland Pharmacy when her parents retired in 2001, making her a second-generation business owner in Luseland as well as a 20-year business owner/operator in the community, while her parents ran this business for 40 years prior to that.
“I have always been very grateful that I had the opportunity to move back to Luseland as it's a wonderful town for raising a family,” says Brenda.
According to the Luseland history book, “Hubs & Spokes,” there has been a pharmacy in Luseland since 1910.
When the Einarsons took over the pharmacy in 1961, it was small. Additions were made in 1967 and 1977.Brenda says her dad sold alot of veterinary meds and supplies for many years, as he had studied vet. pharmacy as part of his pharmacy degree at the University of Saskatchewan.
Mom, Beverly, is a retired registered nurse who also worked at the pharmacy, in conjunction with her nursing career. She recalls providing medical help such as giving needles, diabetic education and injury care as well as medical advice, as this was often in the times before home care RNs were part of the health care environment.
Luseland Pharmacy, under the Einarson family, expanded to sell health and beauty products, gift ware, greeting cards, toys and magazines.
In 1967, a centennial initiative under Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming, established liquor franchises around the province and Luseland Pharmacy was awarded a franchise.
In 1973, the Saskatchewan Prescription Drug Plan came into effect which resulted in many changes in the prescription business.
In the early 1980s, computers became standard for pharmacies and the Einarsons needed to learn new skills. Brenda says her mother had always been computer literate and was able to assist in this transition.
The opportunity arose in 2013 to purchase the former Delta Co-op food store from Cathy Kerr, which offered a much larger location. Kerr and her husband had completed extensive renovations when opening their grocery store. It was the perfect opportunity to expand the pharmacy and little renovation was needed to expand, build a dispensary and put up additional shelving. The move was completed in December of 2013.
“We were thankful for the many friends and community members who helped with the massive job of moving the pharmacy and setting up again in this new location. It was such a generous gesture, and I will always be grateful for these special memories and community assistance," Brenda says.
Twelve people have been employed with Einarson since 2001. The Einarson family say, under both ownerships, they were blessed with dedicated and excellent employes. Brenda says her four daughters also grew up working in the pharmacy, with the two who live locally working right up until it sold, despite having other careers.
Brenda says, “One year ago I felt that I needed to slow down and therefore made the decision to start the process of selling the pharmacy. I have an expanding family, which includes four young grandchildren (to date), with whom I want to spend more time and be available to help out with them when needed. My mom lives in Luseland also, though we lost Dad in January 2019. Focusing on family and having more time to do many other things I enjoy doing, my idea of retirement. “
Asked about her biggest takeaway from running a business in Luseland, Brenda cites the great people in the community.
“So many people who are far more than customers.They have become friends.Old friends from when I was growing up here and new friends since 2001.I have worked in enough other communities to know that the cultures of many other towns aren’t as positive as Luseland's. It's telling that locum pharmacists have always enjoyed working in Luseland because people are friendly and warm.“
Luseland’s Mayor, Kathy Wurz, pays tribute to the Einarson family.
"Don and Bev Einarson were active members of the community and Bev actually was the first female councillor of the Town of Luseland," she says.
"Their family legacy is everlasting as their daughter and a few of their grandchildren go on to enriching the fabric of Luseland."
Daughter Virginia works for the Town of Luseland and Michelle for the RM of Progress.
"Recently, her daughter and son-in-law moved back to Luseland, Katherine and Kelsey Starling, and started Starling Mechanical Ltd., offering a new local plumbing company to our town. The Einarsons continue to be an integral and active part of Luseland."
Wurz also welcomes Raviya, the new owner of Luseland Pharmacy.