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home : community : business watch March 23, 2017

Kayla Breese/River News

Corky Stoxen, former owner of Stoxen Professional Pharmacy, has entered semi-retirement but he found a capable individual to sell the business to. Pictured from left to right are Stoxen and new owner, Tabitha Bennish.
Kayla Breese/River News

Corky Stoxen, former owner of Stoxen Professional Pharmacy, has entered semi-retirement but he found a capable individual to sell the business to. Pictured from left to right are Stoxen and new owner, Tabitha Bennish.
3/11/2017 7:29:00 AM
Stoxen hands over the reins of pharmacy
Tabitha Bennish new owner, Stoxens partners with Hometown Pharmacies

Kayla Breese
Feature Writer


After nearly half a century of caring for community members, a local pharmacist has entered into semi-retirement and sold the business to a capable successor.

Corky Stoxen, former owner of Stoxen Professional Pharmacy, has been a familiar face in the community.

His parents, who were both pharmacists, moved to the area in 1956, so he basically grew up here.

After college Stoxen moved back to the area in 1975 to work with his father, and they did so side by side for 18 years before his father passed in 1992. Shortly thereafter he formally bought the store from his mother.

After 47 years of taking care of the community, Stoxen chose to enter semi-retirement, but he still enjoys seeing his customers that he has built such a good rapport with that full retirement wasn't an option.

"I would miss it if I were totally retired," Stoxen said. "I still like pharmacy, I get a thrill out of it."

He has enjoyed his time as a pharmacist in a smaller community.

"It's been a very rewarding career," he said. "When you work in a small town it's really nice. I worked in big cities when I worked a chain when I was younger and you never see the same patient twice, here you get to know their families, I can tell you what kind of car they drive, where their grandson goes to college, who he got married to, that kind of stuff and I enjoy that."

With his increased free time he plans to spend more time with his loved ones, plans to tackle his garage full of hobbies, which includes restoring motorcycles, and he would also like to travel with his wife and friends, maybe see Europe.

"As long as I'm still healthy and able to do it I want to do it," he said.

Before Stoxen could go to part-time, he needed to find the perfect person to take the reins of the pharmacy. Enter Tabitha Bennish, PharmD.

About a month ago she officially became owner of Stoxen Professional Pharmacy - which will keep its name and location in Ministry Saint Mary's Hospital.

Bennish grew up in Gleason, went to Merrill High School, then to college at UW-Madison first in Nutritional Sciences and then got her Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

Bennish and her husband moved back to the area for his career, and her grandparents live in the area.

Her grandmother knows Stoxen and about a year an a half ago she heard he had an availability and told her granddaughter about it. Bennish jumped at the chance and started working part time, which progressed to full time.

"Around that time I moved to full time and he asked if I ever had any interest in buying the pharmacy and I said 'yes' to his surprise, actually, he didn't think that I guess being younger that I'd be interested," Bennish said.

And Stoxen was surprised by her enthusiasm.

"I had no idea that somebody that young would be excited to do that," he said.

Bennish is eager to assist the patients and implement the things she learned in school.

"I think it's very exciting because you learn all these gold standards in school and sometimes there's a lot of red tape with the larger companies and they really push for profit - and obviously we want to do well enough to stay open - but our focus is really that customer service and care so having that opportunity to implement those things is really exciting."

Stoxen had been working with Hometown Pharmacies (no ties to Shopko) prior to selling the business, and Bennish liked the partnership and what it has to offer.

Hometown Pharmacies has 45 independents, and a unique model where they partner 50/50 with pharmacists who love their community.

"We bring together some economic capabilities because we have friendships and we have partnerships across the country with thousands of independents that hold together for buying power so we can be very, very competitive," said Dan Strause, CFO of Hometown Pharmacies.

He says this will make local patient care above average.

"We are slowly transitioning now and letting the patients know as we make the changes to explain to them that most changes if any are to better serve them actually," Bennish said.

With the partnership Stoxens has a better computer system, and will offer more services such as a drug take back program, immunizations and make things more affordable for patients. Expanded services also include specialist for compounding, sales and marketing, GenoPATH testing which checks people's DNA to see how they metabolize medications, OTC products, healthcare coaching to help people work with diet and exercise before they have health issues and more.

"We are very pleased we are going to be working with a telepsychiatry firm to be able to work with opioid abuse and we are licensed to give Vivitrol injections so we want to be part of the solution for our current opioid crisis," said Strause.

The new services should be available in the next couple months.

Bennish's goal is to continue providing the best care they can for patients and putting them first.

"We are really here to serve them (the patients) so if they have any ideas or wants we recommend they come to us and we'll try to help them as best we can and we are here to serve everyone in the community," she said.

Although Stoxen Professional Pharmacy rents the space from Ministry, they will work with patients from all providers.

Kayla Breese may be reached at kayla@rivernewsonline.com.

Clarification: In the original version of this article, we refered to Tabiath Bennish as a registered pharmacist (RPh). Bennish has a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree and should have been referenced as a PharmD.



Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Article comment by: CHRIS LENARD

Thanks for all your community support over the years Corky! Enjoy your future!

Posted: Saturday, March 11, 2017
Article comment by: Kyle Gruening

Corky: You will be missed. You have been a pillar in this community! Thanks for all you have done. Congratulations.

Posted: Saturday, March 11, 2017
Article comment by: Kat Yohe

We are so glad the pharmacy is going to be staying in tune with the community. Congratulations to you both. Dr Stoxen for serving the community all these years and Dr Bennish for keeping the patients and community first and foremost in her new adventure that's yet to come.



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