NY Mills pharmacist adds seventh location

By Louis Hoglund Hometown pharmacist Nate Seip is now filling prescriptions at another location--the new "Seip Prescription Shoppe" in Dean's Country Market. The drugstore and Dean's hosted a grand opening celebration last week, co...

By Louis Hoglund

Hometown pharmacist Nate Seip is now filling prescriptions at another location--the new "Seip Prescription Shoppe" in Dean's Country Market.

The drugstore and Dean's hosted a grand opening celebration last week, continuing a collaboration that started nearly two decades ago when grocer Dean Simpson invited Seip set up shop in a new addition to the New York Mills Dean's store.

For New York Mills-headquartered pharmacist Seip, the Perham store is his seventh location. As an independent pharmmacist, Seip has found a niche in mostly smaller communities--even as the drug business gets bigger and bigger.


"For years, the independent pharmacies were in decline...But they are starting to come back up nationally," said Seip, who will be marking his 20th year as an independent in 2008. "I think it is a backlash against the big box stores, the nationwide corporate stores. I don't think the large chains can equal the customer service of a smaller store. We really do give one-on-one service."

Greeting customers during the Dean's grand opening last week was a familiar face, Jodie (Flatau) Trites, a 1995 Perham High School graduate who earned her pharmacy degree at the University of Minnesota.

"I was very excited about the opportunity to come back here to the Perham area," said Trites.

Pharmacist Trites has been with Seip for two years, working at the Frazee store before taking the pharmacy manager post when the Perham location opened in August. Prior to that, Trites worked for a Target pharmacy for three years.

"Most of my pharmacists are hometown people," said Seip. "People with a connection and a commitment to the area...It's good business, and good for the communities."

The Perham store is the newest of the Seip Drug locations, which include Frazee, Henning, Battle Lake, Moorhead and Detroit Lakes. Seip Drug originated in New York Mills, where the drugstore is also attached to Dean's Country Market.

Seip, a Morris native and graduate of North Dakota State University, was a druggist with the Detroit Lakes Pamida in 1988, when he had an opportunity to open his own pharmacy in New York Mills.

"The pharmacy that had been there for years, downtown near the Eagles Cafe, had been closed for four or five months," recalled Seip. The downtown drugstore was owned by Larry Kroshus.


When Kroshus closed, New York Mills civic leaders--including Dean Simpson, then-mayor and owner of Dean's Country Market, went all out to recruit a pharmacist.

Simpson added on to his NY Mills Dean's location, and there began Seip drugstores.

"You couldn't have a better landlord than Dean," said Seip. When Simpson began planning his new store in the commercial addition in south Perham, he came to Seip again with a proposal.

"Part of Dean's vision was to have the convenience of a pharmacy and a bank at his new location," said Seip. "So Perham was a logical progression."

The 32,000 square foot Dean's Country Market complex, which opened early last summer, also includes a satellite location for United Community Bank, of Perham and Frazee.

Seip's expansion over the years started with buying the Henning drugstore, in 1995. then came Frazee and Detroit Lakes. In 1997, a Seip prescription shop was added to the Central Market store in Detroit Lakes. The Moorhead Center Mall store came this year, when Seip bought out a fellow pharmacist who was preparing to retire.

Today, the Seip locations combined employ about 50. The Perham and Detroit Lakes stores are primarily prescription-only stores. The others, including New York Mills and Henning, are pharmacies combined with gifts and other merchandise.

Up until not too long ago, Seip himself did much of the merchandise-buying. "I found out that choosing gift merchandise wasn't my forte," he said with a laugh. Now, he has one employee assigned nearly full time to buying products.


Hours at the Perham Seip Prescription Shoppe are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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