Final days loom for Vandalia Drug
A young Joe Salois and Debbie Syler worked in the old store while Joe was studying at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy. As fate would have it, Joe Salois married Debbie and together they bought the drug store in 1995. Sadly, Vandalia Drug is scheduled to close sometime between October 12 and 15.
If the walls of Vandalia Drug could talk, imagine the stories they would share. Over the years, the beloved drug store has had different owners and names. The register of the Vandalia Area Historical Society indicates that pharmacies in Vandalia date back to 1870.
From the O.G Wilson store to Weiser Drugs, Vandalia Drug was established in 1972 following a merger with nearby Clinton Drug.
A young pharmacy intern named Joe Salois would later find love in the pharmacy through the meeting of his wife to be and as the future owner of the storied Vandalia Drug Store.
As it stands, Vandalia Drug is scheduled to close sometime between October 12 and 15. Once the Main Street store closes, Joe and his staff will transfer all business to the new location within County Market on Highway 54.
“We’re excited about a good portion of it because we see all the new stuff we get to work with,” said owner Joe Salois. “This is a nice pharmacy and all but there will be more room and more modern stuff at the other place. So we’re excited about that. But a lot of what we got, not just the soda fountain and the coffee, but even some of the room we have to stock unique items, that nobody else carries wont be available out there.”
While Salois is working with Niemann Foods to try and move some of the unique items to the new store, the soda fountain and coffee counter will be left behind. The nickle cup of coffee that the people of Vandalia have grown to love will soon run dry.
“Leaving the counter behind is really the sad part of it. The camaraderie will be truly missed. But with all the changes in health care benefits, it was time to go,” Salois said.
As far as all the stuff on the shelves, HealthMart will load up all of the store’s pharmaceutical supplies and disperse them to various HealthMart stores in the area.
Another benefit of the move is that County Market will be able to accept a broad range of insurance plans where smaller pharmacies cannot.
“They also have some better pricing plans, so in reality I think we will gain business in the long run because it is a better service for the customers,” Salois added.
Salois anticipates having the building cleared of and ready for sale by the end of the year.