One of the city’s oldest pharmacies is getting out of the prescription business but will retain its popular line of costumes.
Officials with Mallatt’s Pharmacy have announced that its Waunakee and Lodi stores will close while its stores at 3506 Monroe St. and 1255 Williamson St., will no longer sell prescription medicine but remain open as retail stores and costume shops.
Mike Flint, who bought the company in 1992 and added three other locations, could not immediately be reached for comment but a voice mail message at the Monroe Street shop said the last day to pick up prescriptions will be on Wednesday at all locations with the Lodi and Waunakee stores closing that day. The two Madison stores will be closed Thursday and Friday for renovations and reopen on Saturday “as a neighborhood retail store without a prescription department” under the new name of “Mallatt’s Costumes,” the message said.
All prescription requests will need to be picked up by 5 p.m. Wednesday. All prescription records for the Monroe Street store will be transferred to Walgreens, 3700 University Ave., and for the Williamson Street store to the Walgreens at 15 E. Main St. on the Capitol Square. For Waunakee and Lodi customers, all prescriptions will be transferred to the Walgreens in Waunakee, according to messages on those stores’ telephone systems.
Mallatt’s was founded in 1926 on State Street and moved to Monroe Street in 1941. Flint started working at Mallatt’s in 1980 when he was in pharmacy school at UW-Madison and bought the business in 1992. In 2010, he purchased what was then Shafer Pharmacy on Williamson Street in an effort to expand the costume business that started at the Monroe Street store in the 1960s.
“I hate to say it, people don’t say, ‘Oh, Mallatt’s for prescriptions,’” Flint told the State Journal at the time. “Costumes are kind of our deal. That’s OK. We’re used to that.”
Flint also helped found a buying group so independent pharmacies in Madison could get better pricing on pharmaceuticals, gauze, sunglasses, greeting cards, candy bars and anything else found in a pharmacy. Independent Pharmacy Cooperative now has more than 4,500 members in all 50 states and is the largest group purchasing organization for independent pharmacies in the country.
Since 2003, Flint also has run Mallatt’s Homecare Pharmacy, which serves nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in and around Dane County and in the Milwaukee area. The service fills medication boxes and provides daily delivery to homes and care facilities.
In 2012, Mallatt’s purchased Harris Pharmacy’s two stores in Waunakee and Lodi from owner Rich Harris.
Patty Spence, city clerk in Lodi, said the closing of the Mallatt’s in her city will leave the community without a pharmacy. The Waunakee Walgreen’s is about a 15-minute drive from Lodi.
“I don’t know what people are going to do, other than travel to another city,” Spence said. “I’m sure there will be elderly and other people who will have a tough time with this. It was a surprise for everyone. It’s unfortunate.”
The closing of the four pharmacies comes as national retailers such as Walgreens, CVS, Shopko and other regional and national brands continue to grow their presence in the Madison area. Earlier this year, Community Pharmacy, 341 State St., founded in 1972, made a plea to its customers for more business as it has struggled in recent years with customer counts and reduced reimbursements on prescriptions.
Peg Breuer, owner of the city’s oldest pharmacy, Neuhauser Pharmacy, founded in 1914 and located at 1825 Monroe St., said she was not approached by Mallatt’s to take over prescriptions. She didn’t learn of the closings until Monday morning.
“It was a huge surprise,” said Breuer, who bought her pharmacy in 1980. “It’s pretty apparent that it’s tough. It’s been a tough year. I hope to gain some business and I hope that it all works out well for us. I’m really sad to see them go.”