Patricia Berry and Tony van de Mortel of Mortel Development Co. are pleased that retail space in the Mews building will be occupied by Neel Tanna and Rupal Tanna for a pharmacy and clinic later in the year. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Pharmacy the right prescription for Crofton’s needs

Opening slated for October in the Mews, along with a medical clinic

It’s just what the pharmacist and the developer ordered, the perfect prescription to fill a need in Crofton.

The community will soon have a remedy for a service that’s been sadly lacking in the community for many years through an agreement between Tony van de Mortel and Patricia Berry of Mortel Development Co. and Duncan Pharmacy owners Neel and Rupal Tanna to occupy a retail space in the Mews building.

The target for the opening of a pharmacy and medical clinic in Crofton is early October.

“We’re expanding, this is our second venture,” said Neel Tanna.

The Duncan Pharmacy location on Canada Avenue in Duncan is coming up to its first anniversary. Folks around the Chemainus area might also recognize Tanna from the two years he spent at the Rexall pharmacy in Chemainus.

Contractors are hard at work getting the Crofton pharmacy ready for the opening after some initial delays due to COVID.

“I wasn’t even thinking two years ago I was going to be owning a pharmacy,” conceded Tanna.

A client approached him about the idea of opening a pharmacy in Crofton and that stuck with him.

“I met Tony last year,” Tanna indicated. “We found a spot in Duncan. Let’s do the one first in town close to our house and let’s get the second one.”

“There’s so much excitement in the community about this,” noted van de Mortel. “I think it’s going to work well. I have always hoped to help provide more essential services to this wonderful growing seaside community.”

There were other previous offers for the retail space, but he held out for the right fit.

“We really want a pharmacy and a clinic and that’s what is needed,” van de Mortel stressed.

Tanna thinks the location is ideal for so many reasons.

“People have lots of parking,” he emphasized. “They can walk to the park, go to the pub – perfect spot.”

A doctor is still being sought for the clinic and an arrangement could be made for two or three to share the space on a part-time basis rather than having one full-time.

The Tannas are gearing up for their first anniversary at Duncan Pharmacy Saturday, Aug. 1 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. with refreshments, 20 per cent off on eligible purchases, diabetes consultation and much more. Free blister pack service and prescription delivery services are offered as well as immunizations, online prescription filling and more.

Crofton residents are invited to check it out and meet the Tannas before they set up shop in the community.

The pharmacy is part of a continued vision for Crofton by Mortel Development Co. that started with the transformation of the old Crofton Hotel that had been closed for two years into the Osborne Bay Pub. Van de Mortel bought it in 2008.

“When we first saw this great location, and that this pub had been closed for a couple of years, we wanted to rebuild it for the community and for everyone to enjoy,” he explained. “That is a part of why we chose to be family friendly as well.”

It took a year, but van de Mortel appreciated the great relationship he built with former North Cowichan senior building inspector Bruce Oliphant.

“It was a treat to work with him,” he praised. “It made it go so much smoother, the whole process.”

Van de Mortel had a partner from Victoria in the enterprise to start, but eventually bought him out.

When Patricia Berry came on board two and a half years ago, the pub took on a whole new status.

“She really turned it around – the kitchen, the service, incredible music made us a live music destination,” said van de Mortel. “That has really turned this around, enabling us to thrive.”

“I love this little ocean town and I feel honoured to be a part of its growth and development,” Berry added.

The Mews started in 2014 with its combination of residential and retail space.

Artist Harold Allison was quick to take his place in the building, but other vacancies remained for a long time until the right tenant finally came along for van de Mortel.

“I’d been approached for everything under the sun,” he noted. “We held out until we found services that we thought would contribute greatly to this wonderful oceanside community.”

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