Patterson's Pharmacy closing after 37 years

Published: Dec. 12, 2012 at 8:14 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 13, 2012 at 10:54 AM CST
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OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - For 37 years, Burt Patterson has owned the pharmacy named after him. That is now coming to an end. For Patterson, it was simply time to retire.

"At a certain age, everybody has to come to grips with the fact that you can't keep going forever," Patterson said.

He also said uncertainly about the future of health care in America also played a role in his decision.

"The potential for a small pharmacy surviving in the coming years under Obamacare is going to be very difficult. And again, at my age, I just did not want to risk my retirement," Patterson explained.

Some people, like Bill Harris, have been coming here for years.

"This is part of Ocean Springs. I hate to see it go," Harris lamented. "Burt has been around forever just like most of us here in Ocean Springs. I'm retired, and he's retiring so good for him."

For other customers, something else will be lost.

"It's not like a chain pharmacy, you get personalized service, which is very much appreciated," Joe Shambley said. "If you have any problems, you can always call Burt and talk to him or any of his staff."

The closing of Patterson's Pharmacy has come as quite a shock to its longtime customers.  But for long time employees, it's also a day filled with sadness.

Carla Zirlott has worked here for seven years.

"It's like losing part of your family," Zirlott said. "I'm hoping we'll all stay in touch kind of like family does, but you get kind of worried that you won't. But we're all real close."

Like any family, times change and members move on. But the memories collected over 37 years will always remain.

The national chain Fred's has purchased the inventory of Patterson's and will begin operating the pharmacy Thursday morning at the Fred's location on Highway 90.  The Patterson building, located right behind the Ocean Springs Hospital will be closed.

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