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SAME LOCATION, DIFFERENT FACES

FILLING A VOID – Axline Pharmacy is scheduled to open for business Wednesday in the former Roanoke Pharmacy. Pictured from the left to right are: Chad Bohlman, Morgan Miller and Troy Williams.

ROANOKE – At a larger or more high-profile pharmacy, a customer may have to wait upwards of two hours on a prescription re-fill.

However, as far as Axline goes, they foresee as little as five minutes, which could conceivably be less time than it would take for an individual to walk down the driveway to collect mail at a curbside box, pick up a loaf of bread at the supermarket or a gallon of paint at the hardware store.

All signs point to Axline opening Wednesday morning in the former Roanoke Pharmacy on Main Street in the downtown business district. The village has been without one for nearly eight months since Roanoke Pharmacy was shut down two weeks before Christmas when Dayton, Ohio-based Clarks Rx was sold to CVS.

“We were contacted by one of the employees (Betty Smith)…basically got a hold of us and told us they were closing,” pointed out Axline owner Troy Williams.

Originally, Axline was slated to open in March, but that did not occur due to the fact the state had not reacted to its license application. It was not until July 10 when the state inspected the location and approved it.

“Our goal was to open March 1,” said Williams, who has put in over a quarter-century in the pharmacy business. “That’s been lots of patience to practice. Even then with the opening, we will not be able to (accept) credit cards. Phones do not work. We’ve had Verizon here three times.”

Axline is still one of the few independent pharmacies still around.

“It would be very difficult for us to do something different at this point,” Williams commented. “All of us started out the same. We try to keep it family-oriented. That helps me as a lifelong employee.

“Every time we look into a town, we look at it differently than others do. We’re looking at longevity. We’re looking at it as something to pass down to the next generation.”

Roanoke will be the eighth pharmacy under Axline ownership. According to Williams, they plan to have 10 by the end of 2019. He did not disclose which of the other two communities would join the Axline family. Williams did project Roanoke to be the third busiest pharmacy behind Bloomington and Monmouth, respectively.

Besides Roanoke, Axline is also in similar locales such as Bushnell, Flanagan and Granville, which is the hometown of Rob Bean, who will be one of the two pharmacists at Roanoke.

“A lot of times, almost all of these towns have the same demographics. It’s the same people,” Williams explained.

 “When we talk about the closing of a pharmacy, not many know what that means,” he continued. “If you want to study the economic impact on losing a pharmacy, the town starts to go away. In my hometown of Cuba (located in Fulton County), they lost their pharmacy. They lost their tax money and could not fix their streets. When some towns lose their pharmacy, they do not care. That’s not the case anymore.”

Axline began in 1927 in Monmouth under the leadership of Bill Axline Sr. When he retired, he turned it over to his son, Bill Axline Jr. Williams eventually bought the business from Axline Jr. in 2007. The first Axline location with Williams at the controls opened in the spring of 2013 in Bloomington.

“We talked about changing the name, but we decided to stay with it because people are familiar with us. We know a lot of people in Central Illinois,” recalled Williams shortly after he made the purchase.

Joining Bean at Roanoke will be Chad Bohlman, who is a second generation pharmacist. His father, Cliff Bohlman, worked in Peoria for 35 years. Williams also plans to be up at least once a week. There will be four employees at the Roanoke location. Morgan Miller, who is Williams’ niece, will be there occasionally to fill in when needed as a technician. Miller, her uncle and Bean are all graduates of the pharmacy program at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Besides prescriptions, various types of medication and hygiene products will be in stock.

“We’re excited about the store,” said Williams. “We think it’s one of our better looking stores. We think they’re (townsfolk) going to be excited to have us. “

Hours will be Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Their phone number is (309) 923-7711.

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