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Lancaster County Pharmacy Has Rx for Longevity - abc27 WHTM

Lancaster County Pharmacy Has Rx for Longevity

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Behind the pharmacy counter is a comfort zone for John Hinkle III. And it should be. He's a fourth generation pharmacist at Hinkle's Pharmacy, a Lancaster County landmark business in downtown Columbia.

"People knew me growing up," said John Hinkle III. "It was a comfortable environment growing up. And I just always really enjoyed working in the pharmaceutical part of the store."

As store president, John III follows in the footsteps of his dad, John Hinkle, Jr., his grandfather John, Sr. and great-grandfather Samuel Hinkle.

"Columbia has been a very loyal town to us," said John Jr., who served as store president from 1958 to 1990. "They've been very loyal generation after generation. And, of course, you can't ask for anything more than that."

The quaint business opened in 1893 by Samuel Hinkle and early partner Luther Schroeder has changed considerably over the years. Pharmaceutical equipment and procedures are far more complex. Medical aids and equipment are now a significant portion of the business. And a gift shop adds an ever changing dimension to the store. But, perhaps the biggest change to the original enterprise is the restaurant. It's THE place in Columbia to eat, meet and greet. Even Mayor Leo Lutz gets calls about Hinkle's from people planning to visit the town.

"They'll say 'We heard of this place called Hinkle's drug store where we can go and it's like the center of town where everything happens.' "

And store loyalty isn't just from customers. Thirteen of Hinkle's nearly 70 employees have been with the business for 25 years or more. And looking ahead for their business, John III says their operational plans will change as needed, but not their business philosophy.

"We're hoping that we can continue to provide personal service and customer service that builds loyalty from the people so they enjoy coming back."

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