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Royer Pharmacy in downtown Ephrata. 

Royer Pharmacy will be closing its five stores later this month, ending a 141-year run for the Ephrata area pharmacy chain.

In an press release announcing the closures, Royer said its prescription files will be sent to CVS after the stores close, which will help ensure uninterrupted service for customers.

All five stores will close by March 18.

Now owned by siblings Donald and Robert Sherman and Patricia Leaman and Pamela Groff, the pharmacy traces its beginnings to 1879 in Ephrata, when a young pharmacist named George S. Royer bought the business from a local pharmacist named Konigmacher.

William Sherman, father of the current owners, joined the company in 1954 and spent 50 years developing the business. 

Royer Pharmacy president Donald Sherman said the age of the owners was one factor in the decision to close. Another is the decreasing reimbursements from insurance, Medicare and Medicaid plans which he said “make it difficult to stay in business and continue to offer the types of services patients need.”

Sherman said employees were told about the change at a meeting Tuesday. He said they are being given special consideration for new jobs at CVS which has been interviewing his staff and pledged to honor their job seniority. 

Sherman praised the pharmacy’s customers and staff for allowing Royer Pharmacy to operate for so many years.

“The Sherman family wishes to thank the public for their generations of trust and loyal patronage. It’s been a great run and we and our wonderful staff couldn’t have done it without you. It’s been our pleasure to serve you,” he said in a press release.

Loss of an independent

Royer has locations: in downtown Ephrata at 2 E. Main St.; outside Ephrata at 1021 Sharp Ave.; in Akron at 113 S. Seventh St.; in Leola at 335 W. Main St.; and in Lancaster at 508 Hershey Ave.

The company, with its headquarters in the downtown Ephrata location, has more than 90 employees, according to the Royer’s website.

Royer described itself as one of the nation’s oldest, continuously operating independent pharmacies in the United States.

The demise of Royer is the latest example of a small, locally owned business folding under the weight of corporate competitors, which have far greater purchasing power, marketing budgets and technological resources.

In the local pharmacy industry, most recently Hinkle’s Pharmacy in Columbia shut down the same way as Royer.

But similar outcomes also have been seen most notably in the local supermarket industry, with the sale of one Darrenkamp’s and the closing of three others, and the sale of Ferguson & Hassler and Musser’s Markets, all bought by Giant, and the closing of Rhubarb’s.

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