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Drug store open in Harrisville after seven-year hiatus

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HARRISVILLE — A long-time Gouverneur pharmacist has opened a drug store here, filling a seven-year void in this northern Lewis County community.

“This is something I always wanted to do,” said Justin M. Besaw, who in late December opened Bonaparte Pharmacy at 8210 Main St.

The new shop is located at the site of the former Dooley’s Drug Store. That business closed in the fall of 2006, leaving the village without a pharmacy since.

Village Mayor Gary L. Williams and his wife, Nancy L., eventually bought and refurbished the downtown building, which also houses Northern Regional Center for Independent Living’s Harrisville satellite office.

Enter Mr. Besaw, a 1997 graduate of Gouverneur Central School and a 2002 graduate of Albany College of Pharmacy, who had worked at the same Kinney Drug store in Gouverneur since 1995, when he was a sophomore in high school.

“I love what I do,” he said. “I love being a pharmacist.”

Mr. Besaw said opening his own store offers him more face-to-face time with customers and flexibility in the way he serves them.

“It’s the opportunity to practice pharmacy the way I think it should be done,” he said.

The venture also offers more regular hours and more time to spend with his wife, Charity, an occupational therapist at the Edwards-Knox Central School District, and their two children, ages 5 and 9, Mr. Besaw said.

The business is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

However, Mr. Besaw said he is more than willing to stay late if a customer is unable to come in during regular business hours. Home delivery is also available.

The new business owner said he is able to offer competitive pricing, accepts all insurances and electronic prescriptions and can offer the same services, like automatic refill, as larger drugs stores.

“I have the technology that all the box stores have,” he said.

Mr. Besaw also said he is working to convey the message that refill transfers are very simple and can be handled right at his store and that he is running a full-service pharmacy.

“There is a full store here,” he said. “This isn’t just prescriptions.”

Vaccinations will be offered at Bonaparte Pharmacy by appointment, and Mr. Besaw plans to hold flu shot clinics for walk-in customers on Saturdays in the fall.

While deciding to move forward with the venture nearly a year ago, Mr. Besaw said it took a lot of time — including many hours of interior construction and set-up over the past several months — to bring the project to fruition.

“It was a long, tedious process,” he said.

While initially considering other area communities for his new business, Mr. Besaw said he settled on Harrisville because of the available space and the community’s previous support of an independent drug store.

“I know it can work,” he said.

A grand opening celebration is being planned for Feb. 3.

Bonaparte Pharmacy can be reached at 537-5032 and more information is available on its web site, www.bonapartepharmacy.com.

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