By JOY CRIST
making a recent move to close on Saturdays due to financial reasons,
the Beach Pharmacy in Hatteras plans to remain open for its scheduled
9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday hours, despite being in the
midst of a building overhaul.
construction, which began on Monday and will continue within the
pharmacy portion of the three-unit building for the next two weeks,
the pharmacy will temporarily reconfigure its interior set up.
going to set up a temporary pharmacy in the front of the store, and
we’re going to try to do that over the weekends so it does not
interrupt service,” says longtime pharmacist Steve
customers need something from up front [that’s inaccessible], like
over the counter drugs, we’ll get it for them - all they have to do
is ask us.”
moving and temporary set-up has caused extra work in the way of long
nights and weekends for Steve and his staff, but it’s all part of
the pharmacy’s longstanding commitment to staying open, no matter
what. “I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if we couldn’t be
open,” he says. “People have to have their medication and closing
would be a tremendous hardship for people here, and on Ocracoke
remodeling is due to damage caused by October 2016’s Hurricane
Matthew. During the storm, 20 inches of water poured into the
pharmacy, causing damage to a number of over-the-counter medications
as well as the first shelf of prescription medications in the
pharmacy portion of the store. Even so, it was open just two days
after the Sunday storm, and has remained so ever since.
construction is underway to undo the structural damage caused by the
got to take all the walls out, all the way down the building in all
three units, replace all the shelving, and do sheet rock insulation
[for] anything that may have gotten wet,” says Steve. “Then they
have to go in the outside of the building and replace all the metal,
as it’s already started rusting away.”
complete overhaul to the building itself will take time, but the
temporary pharmacy set-up will only be in place for a couple of
now, when you walk in the door, the pharmacy is to the left,” says
Steve. “It’s raised up about 12” right now and we’ve got to
tear those boards out. In order to do that, we have to move the
drugs, and the computers, to the front of where the pharmacy is now.”
do that on the weekends and at night,” he says. “It makes for
long days, and sleepless nights, but you do what you got to do.”
the road washed out after 2003’s Hurricane Isabel, Steve came to
the water-locked Hatteras village on the first boat and immediately
set up a route so that the Avon store could get prescription
transfers, fill them, and send them to back to Hatteras.
also has worked with the Coast Guard on several occasions to get
prescriptions to Ocracoke during emergencies, which has been a
blessing on more than one occasion.
remember one time after a storm – a winter storm – the roads got
washed out in Ocracoke,” he says. “[My friend] took me over to
Ocracoke on his boat, and I about froze to death on that trip… When
the Coast Guard volunteered to help the next day, I was like ‘Thank
who has been at the pharmacy since 1991 and lives in Nags Head, says
that the lengths that he and his staff go to in order to remain open,
regardless of the obstacle, is simply due to a labor of love.
a reason I travel down here from Nags Head. If you don’t enjoy your
work, and the people you’re working with, it wouldn’t be much
fun, would it?” he says.
had a lot of people ask me, ‘Steve, why have you been traveling 130
miles round trip to go to work in Hatteras village?’ All I can say
is I love Hatteras.’”
a pretty trip down, and the people here are like family.” he adds.
“I love doing what I’m doing. It’s not a Walmart, or a Kmart or
a Walgreens – we don’t punch a clock, and if someone needs
something, we make arrangements to get it to them somehow. We do what
we’ve got to do.”