Towne Pharmacy of Bluffton Opens Today
July 14, 1988
hen the doors open at 9 a.m. this morning at Towne Pharmacy of Bluffton,
the township will have its first pharmacy in Lord only knows how long.
What started off as a whimsical way to poke fun at our readership may have just been a little bit of future predicting. Remember when the Eccentric ran the excerpt about a pharmacy opening from the 1933 Newsletter? Well, that little story got one of the biggest reactions ever. With that knowledge, it seemed apparent that Bluffton was ready for a drug store.
The signs are up, the phone works, the shelves have been assembled and the Huggies have arrived. The wholesaler was in Monday and Jim Stine, proprietor and Jim Sauter, pharmacist, ordered the merchandise for their first “from scratch” pharmacy.
Both Jims are “over thirty,” innovative, witty, enthusiastic and genuinely devoted to improving the overall quality of health care in Bluffton.
Towne Pharmacy of Bluffton will be a full service pharmacy (with a quality line of greeting cards, gifts, sundries, notions and a magazine rack) which accepts medicaid and other third party plans including PCS and NPA. According to Stine, the “prescription prices will be competitive.” “We’re a very price conscience organization. We’re concerned about the patient. Everyone is trying to stretch a dollar,” added Sauter. Eventually a line of home life care and durable medical goods will be added.” We hope to provide home delivery, particularly for those who can’t get to the pharmacy,” said Stine.
As a full service-oriented pharmacy, Sauter will conduct on site blood pressure checks, blood glucose testing and hopes to add cholesterol testing on a periodic basis.
The Towne Pharmacy will also employ an emergency phone number which will make the pharmacist available 24 hours a day.
Stine, originally from Florida owns two other pharmacies, one in Walterboro and one in St. George. He stated the idea to open a pharmacy here came from his wholesaler. “He had his ear to the ground and knew the demand was here. For years people have had plans but no one has done it. I said if he thought it was a good idea, then we were going to do it,” said Stine.
After looking at Bluffton and talking to people, Stine’s convictions were affirmed. “We would like to do very well here, but that takes the support of the community. We intend to give back to the community what it gives to us,” Said Stine.
The initial contact was Dr. Peter Frank who was very pleased with the idea of a pharmacy locating in Bluffton. Stine’s credentials include a bachelor of science in metallurgical engineering from Lehigh University and a masters in business administration from Pensseelaer Polytechnical institute. In addition he is a certified public accountant.
Both Jims anticipate Bluffton will be a lucrative market. “Bluffton will experience a period of extreme growth; provided it is kept under control we’re for it,” said Stine. “This town is on the verge of doing something really big. It’s a very exciting time to be here,” said Sauter. “Bluffton is about to discover itself,” added Stine.
They have both voiced their affection for the town and its people.
“We are very genuinely excited to be here. Everybody we’ve talked to have been cordial and receptive about our coming. It’s so refreshing to be received in such a positive way. We can’t wait to open the doors and see what we can do for them,” said Sauter.
Stine is looking to relocate here in Bluffton while Sauter has already made that commitment.
Jim Sauter, his wife, Tammy and his two and one-half year old son, Jim, Have settled in Rose Hill Plantation. The Sauter’s moved here from Charlotte, North Carolina where Jim worked for Eckerd Drugs.
Sauter graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina with a degree in pharmacy and biology and a minor in oceanography.
Jim met Jim after answering an ad in The State newspaper and according, “We’ve been friends every since.”
Sauter described the process of starting a ground up operation as “traumatic.” We didn’t anticipate the hassles. You learn to appreciate the team effort. So much goes into the efforts behind the scenes to make it function properly. Just one year later Jim Sauter bought Jim Stine’s share of the pharmacy and has since been the sole proprietor of Bluffton Pharmacy.
In his role as “town pharmacist,” Sauter has embraced the responsibility, professionally and personally and to extend his knowledge and service to the community. He plans to present drug awareness programs, sponsored by the pharmacy, to our youth. “As a pharmacist, I want to take this opportunity to tell kids, to share what I know about drugs and what they can do to you. My first responsibility is to the patient who walks through that door and to the overall health of the community. There’s more to coming in here and buying a stick of gum. You can ask questions and seek information.”
Their presence in Bluffton is reassuring. It is impossible to imagine the magnitude of contribution they will make to the community. Welcome.