• Jennifer Quinn

The Right Dose

Hill’s New Health and Wellness Drugstore offers support in nutrition, hydration, supplements, and mind and body health

By Tracey F. Johns

Supplements and Wellness Consultant Kate Richards has been with Hill’s Drug Stores for more than five years.

In January of 2020, Hill’s Drug Stores announced their plans to begin construction on a new state-of-the-art Prescription Compounding Lab at their Cynwood Drive location and simultaneously to relocate all prescription medication services to that store.

“When we shared news of this change in January 2020, customers were startled, thinking that Hill’s was closing our downtown store,” says Mimi Shannahan, R.Ph., a third-generation pharmacist and co-owner of Hill’s Drug Stores, the pharmacy her grandfather William D. Hill, R.Ph. — known to locals as the first “Doc” at Hills — started in historic downtown Easton in 1928. “Customers were genuinely concerned. The confusion and concerns escalated when COVID-19 mandates required us to temporarily close our doors for walk-in service.”

“The magnitude of designing and building a state-of-the-art FDA-approved laboratory space is more than a notion,” says Shannahan.

After looking at every possible option to accommodate a structure built in 1865 in a historic district and still meet the FDA requirements, the owners had to acknowledge that their beloved “home” downtown was not a good fit for the new laboratory. They then realized that once they relocated the team responsible for all of the compounded prescriptions it just made the most sense to have their entire team of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working cohesively in one location.

“Our workflow and operations are more fluid with all our pharmacists in one location,” says Shannahan. “We’re grateful to have been able to relocate all our staff through the COVID pandemic, with no layoffs.”

Shannahan says Hill’s continued drive-thru and delivery services thru the pandemic’s beginnings, with the help of five pharmacists and a staff of 25 team members.

Now that Hill’s has successfully shifted all its prescription medication services, including compounded medications, to its west side location on Cynwood Drive, the historic Dover Street location has been able to fine tune its focus as well.

Rebranded as ‘Hill’s Health & Wellness — Your Drugstore Reimagined,’ the Dover Street location will carry a comprehensive collection of professional-grade vitamins, supplements, and herbs to support every body system and targeted health goal, beautifully crafted facial and skincare spa products and tools, essential oils, and some luxurious gift items for health and home.

Hill’s Drug Store Supplements and Wellness Consultant Kate Richards has been with Hill’s for more than five years and says they made a deeper investment in wellness products when expanding their supplement and wellness consultation services in 2015.

“We’re grateful to be a connecting point for a community abundant with wellness practitioners, including Reiki, naturopathy, acupuncture, and massage, as well as a great group of proactive physicians and specialists,” says Richards. “We’re proud of our working relationship with many of these wellness practitioners, helping to connect their clients with high-quality nutritional supplements and vitamins while supporting the growing desire to shop locally.

In addition to the shelves of wellness and nutritional

supplements, spa and facial products are offered

at Hill’s Drug Stores’ Dover Street location.

“We carry high-quality supplements such as Pure Encapsulations, Plus CBD Oil, Gaia Herbs, Designs for Health, Integrative Therapeutics, and many more,” says Richards, “and spa and facial care lines like Pursoma, Baudelaire, Alteya, Mad Hippie and Intelligent Elixirs.”

Richards says the store’s accelerated focus on preventive wellness just made sense because so many customers were already appreciative of Hill’s health-minded offerings. There is also some history behind the ‘preventive health focus’ at Hill’s going back into the early ’90s when Mimi Shannahan began to explore ways to support patients of local physicians using bioidentical hormone therapy.

“A local physician called when I was on duty asking about bioidentical hormone replacement,” says Shannahan. “He told me I needed to learn more about this approach because he thought it could really help many patients. It was from that point that our education led to a deeper understanding of the roles of nutrition and lifestyle choices in health and wellness. There was more to it than starting people on natural hormones,” she says, “clients needed to understand how to establish a strong foundation of health to build upon.”

“Everyone wants to feel great, but not everyone has access to support systems to take them down that path,” says Shannahan, “which is why we have created Hill’s five-point approach to wellness that includes nutrition, hydration, and supplements, mind and body health.”

She says her passion as a life-long learner developed in pharmacy school and her quest to learn more about supporting her clients “health span” took her to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and the American College of Apothecaries, where she joined like-minded pharmacists who were enthusiastic in learning and solving problems for their patients.

Shannahan says she and her siblings grew up at the Dover Street location and it remains a big part of her family history and who she is. She even remembers her first-grade party, held in the store’s basement.

“I wanted to do something with it now to give back to the community,” she says. “We’re not a big chain and we’re from this community. I truly believe that we can give back by supporting our community in health and wellness. This past year has required a new level of tolerance from people,” says Shannahan, “and we are grateful for so many who cheered us on during the long months prior to reopening Dover Street.”

Richards provides ​health and wellness consultations, lifestyle “resets” and coaching, including guidance on supplement use and selection. Shannahan focuses on hormone evaluations and bioidentical hormone therapy consultations. She says consultations are normally done in person, with the COVID pandemic transitioning consultations to video or phone meetings.

“It’s important to acknowledge that we’ve not made a decision to change a legendary spot,” says Shannahan, “but rather a decision to preserve a legendary spot by making these changes.”

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