Village Apothecary was founded in 2006 by Pete Gage and Neal Smoller. Pete was a pharmacist in the Saugerties community for 20+ years. He was the pharmacist at Beadle’s Pharmacy, Saugerties’s family owned pharmacy, for almost the entire time. Neal worked as a teenager in Beadle’s. Pete, who happened to be one of Neal’s neighbors, served as a great mentor and friend.
Beadle’s was eventually sold to Eckerd Pharmacy around 1999. Pete continued to work there as he had, but it was now a chain and things didn’t feel the same.
Shortly after Neal graduated Albany College of Pharmacy in 2004, Neal was flustered with the environment at the big chains. He approached Pete, half seriously, about reopening an independent in Saugerties – just around the corner from Beadle’s. A decision was made: “We can do this; Saugerties deserves it.”
The support of the community was so great that Village Apothecary was an instant success.
Village Apothecary wanted to be different from chains, and did so by offering services unique to the area. They began to practice compounding, or making medicines from scratch, customized for individual patients. After a trip to Italy, Neal wanted to use natural products such as herbs and nutrition to help prevent disease. By working with community groups, Village Apothecary was able to educate hundreds of people – many who would not have known about them – in important topics of health.
There was much to do… The business of pharmacy was changing – Medicare D, the economic crisis, big box stores offering drugs for free, insurances slashing reimbursement to increase profits… The list was becoming to large to manage. In order to survive, Village Apothecary needed to be different.
Power in Numbers
Neal founded Woodstock Apothecary in 2010 as an extension of what was created at Village Apothecary. It was an attempt to refine the ideas of preventative medicine, but more importantly, it was a stage to prove that natural products could be useful if strict standards were applied to them.
Woodstock Apothecary was a success. It gained Village Apothecary the leverage it needed to survive the pharmacy business downturn, plus it introduced a greater role for the staff – preventing and treating disease with lifestyle changes, not just prescription drugs.
Neal then opened Village Vitality, a standalone supplement store in West Hartford, CT. Shortly thereafter, a new pharmacy specializing in medical equipment, prescription compounding, and wellness was built in the Lake Katrine, NY medical office building. All pharmacies were unified under the Village Apothecary name.
Change is the Only Constant
As healthcare continued to evolve, we realized the only way to survive is to consolidate our locations back to a smaller, yet stronger model. Pharmacy and medicine is changing, so we adapted. Our Woodstock location remains as our only location, and Neal’s young family appreciated the time freed up by a simpler model.
We stay committed to the practice of pharmacy, especially small, family owned community pharmacy. We spend alot of time advocating for change in the healthcare system, where ambitious local people like Neal are on a level playing field. We’ve had some small victories, and hopefully more will come.
We cherish the role we play in the lives of our neighbors’ and friends’ health and happiness. We take many opportunities to give back and be charitable. We’re listening to what other pharmacies are doing. We’re watching trends in healthcare. We’re recognizing opportunities and taking them.
Our future is leading in true holistic care. We do so with Neal’s Holistic Standard model. Read all about it here.
A Thank You
Because of the support we’ve received from the great communities we serve, we can proudly say that Village Apothecary will be a leader in the provision of pharmacy care. Thank you for giving us reason to be the best!