TOWNSHEND -- The staff of Messenger Valley Pharmacy finally has a little elbow room.
And that means increased services for customers of the newly renovated and expanded pharmacy, which is owned by Grace Cottage Hospital and is located just across the street from that Grafton Road facility.
Hospital administrators were among those on hand Friday for a grand opening after completion of a $350,000 project. Pharmacy Director Jim Heal said he's already hearing good reviews from patrons.
"They love it," Heal said.
Messenger Valley, which opened in 1996, fills more than 5,000 prescriptions monthly and is about 20 miles away from any other pharmacy.
But cramped quarters were hampering operations, and an attached barn was becoming a potential hazard. So the barn was demolished in May, making way for a significant expansion.
The hospital raised more than $350,000 for the project in less than 10 months. The effort also received a big boost from Hartford, Conn.-based non-profit ServCorps, which in September sent volunteer crews to Townshend to erect a new "barn" at the pharmacy site.
Heal said the project now is done save for a few finishing touches.
On Friday, he took time to list some of the benefits of increasing the pharmacy from about 900 square feet to nearly 2,500 square feet:
-- A private consultation room allows one-on-one meetings with pharmacists.
"That will give us the ability to provide medication-therapy management," Heal said.
-- The pharmacy now can offer vaccinations.
"We had pharmacists who were certified (to administer vaccinations), but we didn't have any space to do it," Heal said.
-- There is expanded space to display medical equipment for sale.
"We had all of these products, but we didn't have room to display them," Heal said.
-- There is a dedicated area for the pharmacy's "medicine on time" project -- a management system designed for those who take multiple medications.
Heal credited contractors and project managers for coordinating their work so that the pharmacy never was forced to close during renovations.
"We didn't miss any business whatsoever," he said.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.