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Groundbreaking first step for Fruth Pharmacy

Community leaders gathered Friday morning at the site of the new Fruth Pharmacy to welcome the start of what is hoped to be a strong partnership between Ironton and the family-owned and operated pharmacy chain.

The Lawrence Economic Development Corp. hosted the groundbreaking ceremony at land on Campbell Drive across from the soon-to-open St. Mary’s Medical Center campus at the intersection of State Route 141 and U.S. 52.

“It is always a great time when jobs are added,” Dan Mooney, LEDC president, told the audience. “And we are proud of this event.”

The LEDC will construct a 10,000-square-building that will then be leased to Fruth, which will open its 26th pharmacy there. The store will feature prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, a gift shop and a line of groceries. It will also take special orders from customers.

Right now the only Fruth store in Lawrence County is in Proctorville, which is one of the company’s first stores.

County commissioner Bill Pratt and Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship praised the business that was begun by the late Jack Fruth in 1952 in Point Pleasant, W.Va.

“What a great addition to have another long-standing family name in Fruth Pharmacy,” Pratt said.

“We applaud the commitment Fruth Pharmacy has made to come to our city to provide jobs for our citizens and the needs of our community,” Blankenship said.

The target goal is to open the pharmacy with 20 employees and increase that to 25 in the next two years.

“We are excited to come to Ironton and be part of the community in Lawrence County,” said Lynne Fruth, youngest daughter of the founder and president of the company.

Fruth described the company’s recipe for success as providing “excellent customer service in a family atmosphere.”

As part of its commitment to the community, Fruth has already set up a scholarship at Ohio University Southern, part of $200,000 it gives away each year in scholarship money. It is also working on a program with the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization to assist under-insured and uninsured patients with the cost of their medications.

The pharmacy is expected to open in mid-October.