New locally owned pharmacy to open in Helena

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter  

HELENA — For many, access to prescription drugs is more important than ever due to COVID-19, and to fulfill that need, Jeff Honea is opening an independent locally-owned pharmacy called Helena Drugs.

Honea owns Chelsea Apothecary, another independent pharmacy, and he says that having a locally-based service outside of large chain stores gives residents a convenient, community-minded alternative, that is also often less expensive.

“A lot of times people are under the impression that if you got to a big chain store that they will have better prices. More times than not, that’s just not the case,” Honea explained. “I saw a post that explained it best. It said how a big box chain store could buy a property at a gas station, tear the whole thing down and put a pharmacy on the corner lot. It’s because while you think you’re saving money there, you really aren’t.”

Honea explained that running pharmacies ran in the family. His father and grandfather both ran independent pharmacies, which led him to pursue the same career earning his education at Samford University.

After running Chelsea Apothecary for several years, Honea said he kept the city of Helena in the back of his mind hoping to eventually be able to open a pharmacy there.

He tapped a good friend, Ryan Taylor, to run the location.

When explaining the benefit of using a local pharmacy, Honea emphasized that service was key as well as not having to pay high prices for necessary medications.

“I had a guy call me and told me he waited for an hour and a half at one of the chain pharmacies. I told him if he came here, I’d have him out in a few minutes and I did,” Honea said.  “Next time I see him, I will remember his name, which is something I try really hard to do. I know their kids and spouses, and I develop a relationship with their families. That level of service you can’t get with a pharmacy chain.”

Honea said that those who might be nervous about the difficulties of switching pharmacies do not have to worry. He explained that the process of transferring prescriptions and patient profiles typically take less than an hour and prescriptions can be picked up easily thereafter.

The pharmacy will also offer compounding for those who have specific needs or dosages in their medicines that are not typically commercially sold.

Like Chelsea Apothecary, Helena Drugs will also offer curbside pickup and delivery when needed.

Helena Drugs will be located at 455 Helena Market Place Suite 455 in Helena and will keep hours of 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturdays. The store will be closed on Sundays.

More information about the pharmacy can be found at Helenadrugs.com.