Back in business: Joplin's Medicine Shoppe 620 reopens


David Starrett, BSPharm, stands in front of his old Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in Joplin, MO

I wanted to share with you the incredible story of Medicine Shoppe 620 in based on firsthand accounts I’ve read. The pharmacy, owned by David and Sheree Starrett, was destroyed by a tornado on Sunday, May 22. Six days later, the pharmacy filled its first prescription order in a new location.

“Store gone,” read the text that David received from one of his employees. The destructive path of the tornado was 1 mile wide and 6 miles long. Three employees of the store lost their homes and automobiles.

By the next afternoon, May 23, David and Sheree decided to relocate their store. An entire store set-up of fixtures and a pharmacy counter was donated through a of Bob Kloeppel, a Franchise Business Consultant for Medicine Shoppe/Cardinal Health. That evening, David and Sheree received a call from a friend in Joplin who offered them a chance to lease a retail space.

On the morning of May 24, it was determined that the offered space was less than ideal for a retail business but that another location across the street was perfect. David found the owner, who was working through debris on another property across the road, and they agreed on a lease with a handshake. Around 10:00 am, a locksmith showed up at the new location, replaced the locks, and gave David keys to his new store.

On Wednesday, a U-Haul was driven to the new store with the donated fixtures and pharmacy counter. It was discovered that the PDX server from the old store had no damage and actually ran end-of-day reports when started up. A disaster recovery service retrieved the safe containing controlled substances and brought it to the new location. The next day was spent following up on phone, cable, security, and countless other items. Bob worked the entire day on computer- and pharmacy system–related issues.

On the afternoon of May 27, Sheree placed a $153,000 order for 1,153 lines of product. At 8:00 am on Saturday, May 28, the order arrived. Within the hour, the items were stickered by three pharmacy techs and four others. That afternoon, the products were set on shelves. At 7:18 pm, Bob sent the following text: “Store opened this afternoon … filled Rx … leaving for home.”

This abbreviated version of events came from firsthand accounts by David Burnett, ISF Pharmacy Business Consultant for Cardinal Health; Bob; and Patrick Clay, Twlug Science Officer. So many people were involved in the rebirth of Medicine Shoppe 620. Their help and support will never be forgotten, those involved said.

When I opened my Medicine Shoppe 290 in 1978, it took me months to get ready. My hat is off to the team that did this! What an accomplishment!