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Halpin’s in process of closing

Sat., June 29, 2013

Halpin’s Pharmacy and Treasure Room, which opened its doors in the Spokane Valley in 1949, plans to close, company principal Rick Ericksen said Friday.

The longtime drugstore and gift shop has begun selling off its merchandise and plans to shut down by August.

Ericksen said the economic downturn had taken a toll on the business. Earlier this year the Rite-Aid company, which opened a pharmacy a few blocks away, contacted Ericksen and co-owner Ron Gill, who is a pharmacist. Rite-Aid made an attractive offer to take over the list of pharmacy customers, and he and Gill accepted, Ericksen said.

Ericksen started working at Halpin’s in 1966 as a delivery boy. The company was founded by Joseph Edward Halpin in 1940 at a different location.

Growth in the business led Halpin to move to its current store near Sprague and Bowdish avenues.

In 1969 Halpin sold the store to pharmacists Frank Terhaar and Gary Christensen, who then sold it to their employees through an employee stock ownership plan in 1992. Gill and Ericksen took over as co-managers in 1999.

The property owner is looking to sell the building or lease it, Ericksen said.

In recent years the business has had 22 workers. “We’ve slimmed down to 10 after we sent all our pharmacy work over to Rite-Aid,” Ericksen said. Gill has moved over to work at Rite-Aid as well.

Ericksen said he’s looking forward to retirement.

“We’re just adjusting to the change,” he said. “It’s still mind-boggling. There’s a lot of stuff we have to do (to shut down the business),” he added.

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