Hartzell’s Pharmacy

Hartzell’s Pharmacy

Located on American Street in Catasauqua, Hartzell’s Pharmacy has been providing a wide range of health and wellness services to the people of the Lehigh Valley for nearly fifty years.

Family-owned and operated since 1968, Robert E. Hartzell, Jr. – or “Bob” as he’s known by his customers – purchased the pharmacy from its previous owners just a few years after graduating from Temple University’s School of Pharmacy. “My father grew up in Allentown,” explained Bob’s son, Vincent Hartzell. “So after college, he returned to the Valley and began working as a pharmacist in Northampton and Allentown. At that time, both of his employers knew of a pharmacy available for sale in Catasauqua and encouraged him to contact the owner. The Catasauqua pharmacy was owned by the Sterner family, and when my father expressed an interest in taking over, they agreed to sell to him.”

With an eye towards meeting the growing needs of his patients, Bob immediately took to transforming the business into a one-stop health and wellness center. His first step involved expanding his inventory to include medical supplies and equipment, such as walkers, hospital beds, wheelchairs and patient lifts. Then, in the early 1990s, he became certified as a Clinical Nutritionist and added an extensive line of nutritional supplements, vitamins and other health-oriented products. “My father became very interested in providing products and programs that are geared towards living a healthy life,” said Vincent. “This includes complementary and alternative medications, as well as services such as cholesterol and osteoporosis screenings, food allergy testing, and weight loss and smoking cessation programs.”

In conjunction with the move towards offering more preventative and heath-oriented products, Hartzell’s also began looking for ways to create a more personalized approach to medication. And so, in 2003, Bob established Hartzell’s Compounding Pharmacy as a sister business to the main pharmacy.

“We [Hartzell’s] want people to come in and try items and give us the opportunity to teach them about products that may not be well-known, but can help them lead a much safer and easier life.”

With the ability to create custom-made pharmaceutical products, the compounding pharmacy offers personalized doses and medications that are tailored to each patient’s individualized needs. “The compounding pharmacy services both people and animals – we work with veterinarians as well as doctors – and we make specialized medical products,” said Vincent.

“Typically, when you get a prescription filled at a pharmacy, it’s being filled off of a drug dose that is known to be effective and safe for the general population. Usually, this works well for the patient. However, in some instances, it is necessary to custom-tailor the dose. So, in those cases, we take the bulk chemicals and make the medication specifically for the patient. Additionally, there are some drugs that are not commercially available because only a small portion of the general population needs them. We also have access to those medications and can provide them to patients.”

Following in his father’s footsteps, Vincent graduated from Wilkes University’s Nesbitt School of Pharmacy in 2005. After completing his post-doctorate residency at Leesburg Pharmacy in Northern Virginia, he returned to Catasauqua to join the family business. And, like Bob, he continued to focus on meeting the changing needs of their customers.

In 2007, Hartzell’s became one of the first pharmacies in the Lehigh Valley to begin offering vaccinations against common viruses such as the shingles. Since then, that number has grown to more than fifteen different vaccines, which protect against illnesses including influenza, meningitis, pneumonia, tetanus and more. “I had a lot of experience with travel health services during my residency,” said Vincent. “So as we grew our vaccination clinic, we also developed a travel health program to assist people who are planning to go abroad. We review medical records and travel plans with people, and then help them determine what precautions they should take.”

Today, Hartzell’s Pharmacy continues to be the Lehigh Valley’s premier “one stop health and wellness center.” Following his father’s partial retirement in 2012, Vincent took over as president and assumed the full day-to-day responsibilities of the business. His wife, Kristen, who is also a graduate of the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy, took over as vice-president.

“Right now, we are looking to refi ne our current services, and also find new ways to help educate people about how to live a better, healthier and easier life – particularly our patients who are entering the later, post-retirement years,” said Vincent. As part of this goal, Hartzell’s recently completed a large-scale remodel in their home medical department. The revamp involved installing a full-size model bathroom to showcase bath safety equipment, and a redesigned floor space.

“We wanted to set the fl oor up to be more educational,” said Vincent. “We want people to come in and try items and give us the opportunity to teach them about products that may not be well-known, but can help them lead a much safer and easier life.” In keeping with this initiative, Hartzell’s also recently launched a home safety evaluation program. At no cost to the patient, a member of the pharmacy team will go to a person’s home, complete a full safety assessment, and then suggest products and minor renovations that will help improve safety.

“When my father first bought the company in 1968, he was the only employee and he filled about 70 prescriptions a week,” said Vincent. “Today, we have 46 employees and fill more than 2,000 prescriptions a week. And that tremendous growth is really due to my father’s vision and his commitment to providing people with the means to live healthier, better lives.”

To learn more about Hartzell’s Pharmacy and their services, please visit their website at hartzells.com.

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