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Oak Harbor Pharmacist is new owner of LaConner Drug Store

Monday marked the end of an era when long time LaConner Drug store owner and pharmacist, Fred Martin, sold the business he has owned for the past fifty years.

The pharmacy’s new owner is Aaron Syring who also owns Island Drugs in Oak Harbor and Clinton.

"I’m glad to be here and be a part of LaConner," said Syring, who lives in Oak Harbor. He plans to be a working pharmacist/owner, but doesn’t expect to be in the LaConner store on a full time basis.

In the meantime, Fred, who has worked nearly seven days a week for the past fifty years, has agreed to stay on in a part time capacity to help make the transition go smoothly.

"When we came to town in 1956 the downtown drug store was closed because of a death," explained Martin. "We were able to purchase it through an estate situation and reopen the doors."

In those days many of the store fronts downtown were boarded up, reflecting a stagnate local economy. Fred saw the need to turn things around and promptly join the chamber and got involved in town government, serving as mayor at one time. Under his watch, LaConner finally installed a sewer system throughout town, helping to improve property values. He urged store owners to advertise and promote LaConner as a great place to live and do business.

Martin’s vision of a more vibrant business community jelled over the years, leading to the popular tourist destination it is today.

While he has seen many changes through the decades, Fred was resistant to potential buyers who were only interested in his customer base and not in operating the store itself. It was important to turn over the reigns to someone who would continue the personal service Fred has always provided.

"I feel now that I can step back," he stated.

And while locals may be concerned that the big changes could be in the future for their much loved store, they needn’t worry.

According to Syring, his focus will be on streamlining the pharmacy itself and he has already installed a new more efficient computer system to provide faster service for prescriptions. He hopes to update the store’s web site real soon where information can be found on medications, insurance coverages and upcoming in store specials.

"Whatever our customers want we’ll try to accommodate them," said the new owner, who also plans to offer flu shot clinics later in the year.

You’ll still be able to see familiar faces behind the counters when you visit the store, an important factor, Syring explained, to assure customers that they will still be recognized by name, not numbers.

If you have questions about the new Part D Medicare program, Aaron will be available to help explain the often confusing changes.

You can call the drug store at the same number, 466-3124, or visit their web site at

Store hours will be 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. They will be closed on Sundays.


Channel Town Press - April 19, 2006