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Micklesen Drug owners celebrate milestone

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business River Falls, 54022
Hudson Star Observer
715-386-9891 customer support
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The Anderson family is celebrating 25 years of owning and operating Micklesen Drug store.

Lyle and Clara Lou Anderson bought the quintessential small-town pharmacy from Bob Ochs and took over the operation on June 1, 1983.

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In a day of discount and grocery store pharmacies, the independently owned drug store at the corner of Second and Locust streets is still going strong.

"This is a good store. It's always been a good store," says Lyle Anderson. "We've always run it as kind of a community store."

His wife, Clara Lou, says the store thrives by providing exceptional service.

Customers bring their health problems with them into the store, she says, and the attitude of the pharmacy staff is, "Let's talk."

She says patients need directions on when and how to take their medication. And occasionally a prescribed drug doesn't work, or causes a negative reaction.

"So there is a lot of talk that goes on with it," she says.

No other pharmacy in town can boast of a more experienced and stable staff than the one at Micklesen Drug.

Lyle Anderson has been a pharmacist for 53 years. After graduating from the University of Minnesota School of Pharmacy in the mid-1950s, he became a partner in St. Croix Drug in Stillwater, Minn. He and Clara Lou remained partners in the Stillwater store until recently, when they sold their share of the business to the other owner, who closed the store.

Pharmacist Dick Newberg was already working at Micklesen Drug when the Andersons bought the store. Once a partner in the store, Newberg decided to remain on the staff when the Andersons took over. He has now worked at Micklesen Drug for 33 years.

Bruce and Mark Anderson also have been working at Micklesen Drug ever since their parents purchased the store. They started out doing whatever needed being done -- making the deliveries, running the cash register, cleaning -- and advanced to pharmacy technicians and, ultimately, pharmacists.

Bruce is older than Mark, but they both graduated from the U of M School of Pharmacy in 1986. Bruce says Mark decided earlier than him that he wanted to follow their father into the business.

Mark is now the lead pharmacist and president of the family corporation. Bruce is the vice president and secretary-treasurer.

Clara Lou says her sons got their start in business at St. Croix Drug, where they worked for their dad cleaning restrooms and scrubbing steps.

"We wanted the boys to have a realistic outlook on life," she says.

Clara Lou is the longtime accountant for the family business.

Originally a schoolteacher, she returned to college to earn a degree in accounting so she could take care of the books after she and Lyle became partners in St. Croix Drug.

"I like business. I like what you can do in business," she says, relating how Micklesen Drug has participated in various Christian mission projects.

Lyle says Clara Lou's training as a teacher never left her.

"She runs the store a little like a classroom."

"I want it clean and well-organized," she explains.

History

There's been a drugstore on the corner of Locust and Second streets since the early 1850s.

According to Star-Observer archives, the original building burned in 1866 and the second wood-frame structure was torn down to make way for the present store, built in 1904.

Henry C. Micklesen started working at what was then known as Corner Drug Store in 1906, and became the owner when the previous owner, Ernest E. Gatchell, died in 1933.

Henry C. passed the store on to his son Walter.

Surviving power

The store has been able to survive by providing personal service and participating in a business network that gives independently owned drugstores purchasing power and advice.

"We buy all our drugs and everything with this group, and we're competing beautifully," says Clara Lou.

"We have really grown since 1983," she adds. "We feel we have the backing of not only the community, but of the clinic (Hudson Physicians) also."

Micklesen Drug carries home health care equipment and supplies (crutches, walkers, bandages and more) in addition to prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

The store also sells Hallmark cards, gifts, personal care products, candy, school and miscellaneous household supplies.

It's open seven days a week. The hours are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. A pharmacist is always on duty.

The Andersons are celebrating their 25 years of owning Micklesen Drug by holding an in-store drawing for a $250 gift card. No purchase is required to enter the drawing.

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Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
(715) 426-1066
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