The Rural Pharmacist: Kakabeka Falls pharmacy set to expand

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Owners of Evergreen Pharmacy plan to build a new retail space next door that will be four times larger than their current location and could house a medical clinic and/or a dental clinic.

THUNDER BAY – In 2017, Henry Tempelman and Devon Myers took a chance and opened Evergreen Pharmacy in Kakabeka Falls.

Four years later and the entrepreneurial partners are taking their business to the next level, set to start construction this summer on a new building, located next door, that will be four times the size of their current pharmacy.

The goal is to not only expand their retail footprint, but also create space to house other services, including a medical clinic, if funding can be secured from public health coffers, or a dental clinic, both much needed in the rural community.

“We’re thrilled about it,” Tempelman said. “The community has been so supportive of what we’re doing and the services we’re trying to offer. They’re utilizing them well, and without their support, something like this wouldn’t be possible.

“We just want to continue with this, continue to expand, recruit other health professionals to the area to fit the need to the community.”

Tempelman said their current location, situated on Highway 11/17 in the heart of Kakabeka Falls, is quickly being outgrown.

The new facility, which he hopes will be ready by late fall or early winter, will be about 6,500 square feet, about 5,000 square feet larger than the present site.

“We’re going to have more space and expand our pharmacy services. We’ll expand our gift shop – there’s a lot of tourism that comes through Kakabeka Falls as well.”

Tempelman said he’s hopeful a medical clinic is in the cards. There’s certainly a need in the community, he added.

“With the pharmacist expanding scope, we can do a lot of things, whether it be immunizations and medication teaching and education services. But we see there’s a need and there are other people who could definitely bring their services to us as well,” Tempelman said.

“We’re hoping to get a dentist, maybe, expanding on primary-care services, walk-in services, foot care – whatever the community needs we want to recruit health professionals who will service them.”

Oliver Paipoonge Mayor Lucy Kloosterhuis is a full backer of the project, saying the idea of bringing more health care to the region to service many of Thunder Bay’s outlying communities, started out as a wish, but quickly became a reality.

Kloosterhuis said it’s a clear need in Kakabeka Falls, a business hub that services more than 10,000 people.  

“Just over these last years that they’ve been here, the demand has just increased and increased. This is going to be such an asset to the residents, the ability to come get your medications, talk to a doctor, get some diabetic management care – whatever may come that will come into this building will be such an asset,” Kloosterhuis said.

In an effort to determine the need for such services in the Kakabeka Falls area, the Nor’West Community Health Centre is conducting a short survey, which can be accessed here.