BY JENNIFER BAILEY
Residents looking for a “mom-and-pop” pharmacy have a new location to visit on North Vermilion Street.
Tuesday marked the end of a long journey to open a pharmacy in the city for Fidelis Okeke. MedPlus Pharmacy had a ribbon cutting on Tuesday for its grand opening. The pharmacy at 3595 N. Vermilion St., in the former CiCi’s Pizza, actually opened about two weeks ago.
Okeke, owner and chief pharmacist, said things have been going well so far and he looks forward to seeing more customers come in. The back part of the building also will see Bayview Family Clinic open July 1.
Okeke is excited for the pharmacy to be open and says it will provide customers with personal touches.
The pharmacy, which has four employees, sells prescriptions and also offers cold, cough, allergy and other over-the-counter medications, bandages and other health needs and a selection of greeting cards, gift bags and other general merchandise.
The pharmacy also offers senior visits, home deliveries, compounding to fit unique needs of a patient and a drive-through window.
Discussions about Okeke opening a medical clinic in the city started years ago. Two years ago, Bayview Family Clinic of Champaign purchased the building.
Okeke, who has continued to be involved with the project, originally looked at opening a pharmacy/medical clinic on South Gilbert Street years ago.
In 2008, the city council approved Okeke’s request, with Feddco Inc. doing business as Health Mart Pharmacy and Urgent Care Clinic, for a special-use permit to construct and operate a pharmacy at 307-309 S. Gilbert St.
Aldermen then questioned parking and traffic flow, wanting city officials to make sure there would be no backups onto Gilbert Street or other problems.
Okeke said that site never worked out. He said the North Vermilion Street site has more space for medical services and customers.
Ward 2 Alderman Rick Strebing, who attended Tuesday’s grand opening, said the pharmacy is in a good location for north-side senior living sites.
“It’s been a long, long journey,” Okeke said.
The pharmacy accepts all insurance including Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare (unless excluded by a provider). It offers discounts on hundreds of generics, free delivery and monthly home visits.
Hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.