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Korner Pharmacy under new ownership

Aaron Syring and Etta Dolan discuss where to place the bottles of Thorne’s natural dietary supplements on the shelves of Island Drug in Clinton Thursday. - Stephen Mercer
Aaron Syring and Etta Dolan discuss where to place the bottles of Thorne’s natural dietary supplements on the shelves of Island Drug in Clinton Thursday.
— image credit: Stephen Mercer

Customer focus, faster service, a new name and more products define the business philosophy of the new owner of Korner Pharmacy.

Aaron Syring, 28, of Oak Harbor and business partner Steve Oliva of Vancouver, Wash. officially took ownership of the company from Terry and Karen Thomas on May 1.

To provide consistency with Island Drug in Oak Harbor, which Syring also owns, he changed the name of Korner Pharmacy to Island Drug.

Etta Dolan, a customer service employee, said some of the customers were slightly surprised about the change when it happened.

Despite notifications to customers through the mail, she said some of the pharmacy’s customers were unaware of the ownership change until the temporary sign went up in front of the business.

Syring declined to say how much he paid for the pharmacy. He will run the stores while Olivia stays in Vancouver to run Hi-School Pharmacy.

Terry and Karen Thomas will stay employed at Island Drug. Terry works as a pharmacist and Karen is the natural product specialist.

Still, there have been changes since the Thomas’ turned ownership over to Syring.

Thousands of dollars have been used to buy a new pharmacy computer system and a new cash register for speedier checkouts.

“Everything is going to be faster,” Syring said.

Other changes include restocking shelves with souvenir cards, stuffed animals and other gifts. Syring said he has added more prescription, over-the-counter and other types of drugs as well.

Customers have noticed the difference, and Dolan said they like the additional selection since the change.

Syring said he wanted to buy Island Drug because he sensed a void in customer service existed among pharmacies on Whidbey Island.

He said he plans to focus on fast and courteous customer service at the Clinton store.

Syring’s interest in Island Drug began because his wife, Erica, grew up in Oak Harbor and wanted to return there from Vancouver.

Buying the business also gave Erica, a veterinarian, a chance to work at Best Friend’s Veterinary Center in Oak Harbor with her father.

Syring graduated from Washington State University with a degree in pharmacy.

He worked for Oliva at Hi-School Pharmacy in Vancouver before buying Island Drug in Oak Harbor.

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