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Blue Earth Drug relocating

June 30, 2012
Jodelle Greiner - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

BLUE EARTH - A new building is going up in Blue Earth and it will house an old business.

Blue Earth Drug plans to move about two blocks north of its present location to the corner of Highway 169 and Seventh Street, says store manager Gina Zierke.

"I've looked at that location for years and years," she said of the busy intersection, "and wondered why no one had a business on that corner."

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GOING?UP?— Workers dig underground near a new building on the corner of Highway 169 and Seventh Street in Blue Earth. Blue Earth Drug plans to move into the building over Labor Day weekend, doubling its square footage, according to Gina Zierke, store manager.

Blue Earth Drug has been at 405 S. Grove St. since 1993, when she and Rich Belau located it there.

In 2009, they bought Zitnak Pharmacy and added more staff.

"We've gone from two pharmacists to four; and other support staff," Zierke said. "We're just tripping over one another."

The need for room got desperate in the past couple of years.

"Loved the current space," she said. "The landlord (Buccaneer Investments) was the best, but it's not possible to reconfigure the space to work for us."

Forced to look for a new location, Zierke faced other obstacles, such as the planned roundabouts on 169, complicated by the state government shutdown last July.

"The roundabouts affect placement of the building with the setbacks," she explained. With the government shutdown, she couldn't get answers as to whether she would have enough room for the building.

She is also dealing with a change in ownership: Belau is in the process of selling out to her and Ryan Milbrandt.

With logistics out of the way, the building is finally being built on the location Zierke coveted for so long.

The new building will double the square footage and allow them to separate two aspects of the business. There will be the part of the pharmacy that serves the public and the part that fills prescriptions for nursing homes, assisted-living centers and group homes, known as a 'closed pharmacy,' because it will be closed to the public. The closed pharmacy is a service Blue Earth Drug already offers but in the new building, the business will be able to expand it.

"It's really going to help the flow to designate staff to each area," Zierke said.

Moving day is set for Labor Day weekend. The store is traditionally closed Labor Day, so staff will have two days to move, without closing the pharmacy.

"Still can't quite believe it's going to happen that fast," Zierke said. "Tuesday (Sept. 4) is gonna be very interesting."



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