When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. As COVID-19 evolves from spring to fall, that old adage becomes increasingly relevant for owners of businesses of all kinds, including Eddy Nickell, pharmacist and owner of Lyon Drug Store, 201 Main St., in Eddyville.
“When this (pandemic) first started, we closed the front of the store completely and only did drive-through for a couple of months,” Nickell said. “When the governor opened businesses up with limited access, we opened up the front of the store.”
However, now he finds “most people are still using the drive-through — over half, at least, but probably 75%.”
Nickell explained, “They’ve gotten used to it and, of course, they feel safe using it, instead of having to come in. That’s good for the whole community, for people to be as safe as they can. We just need to all take care of each other.
“Since the drive-through is so popular, people wait in line longer there. So far, they’ve been really patient about that and I think they appreciate the opportunity to get their medicine without coming into the store.”
Of course, employees are wearing masks and customers who walk into the store are required to wear them as well. For those customers who do enter by the front door, they’ll find plexiglass now is hanging in front of the checkout counter. Nothing was there before. Nickell noted, “So, when we opened up the store, we put that up and that way our employees and patients are separated by both the masks and the plexiglass. So, we have that extra protection there.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, business at Lyon Drug Store went down, because people weren’t going to the doctor, Nickell said. “Doctors were limiting how people came into their offices. Usually, sick people are in a doctor’s office and so people (who weren’t sick) didn’t want to go to the doctor. Originally, our business slowed down because people weren’t going to the doctor for their routine checkups and doctors weren’t seeing patients for routine things. That’s returned more to normal now.”
Like so many others, the store had shortages of paper towels, toilet paper, and small bottles of alcohol for resale, but “we can get (alcohol) by the gallon for our cleaning purposes,” Nickell said. “Prescription medication is not a problem, but with people not coming into the store, our over-the-counter sales are down. Originally, we had a lot of trouble getting masks. Now, they’re (more readily) available.”
Nickell continued, “We appreciate everybody’s patience. Sometimes, it takes a little longer because of the way we have to do things. I think our patients have been very patient. Hopefully, we’ll have a vaccine at some point. I don’t think we’ll ever get back to the same point we were before. I think everybody will continue to be more cautious and I think that possibly will help limit the regular flu season this fall.”
The arrival of the flu season varies from year to year, Nickell explained. “Some experts are recommending people get their flu shots early this year. Generally, we give them in late September or the first of October. We do have the regular flu vaccine available.”