One of the Madison area's few remaining independent pharmacies is closing.
Bergmann Pharmacy, Middleton, ended its pharmacy operations last Thursday and will probably close the store on Friday, said co-owner Darrel Brown.
The Fitchburg location will stop providing pharmacy services on Thursday but will remain open for two to four weeks to sell its cards, gifts and other non-pharmaceutical merchandise, he said.
Brown, manager and pharmacist at the Fitchburg store, 2960 Cahill Main, said competition from the big chain drugstores is a factor but not the main reason for closing the Bergmann stores.
"Insurance reimbursements continue to decrease, and it's become difficult to stay profitable with decreased reimbursements," he said.
The Middleton store, an anchor of the Middleton Springs shopping center for more than 35 years, has seven employees. Its pharmacy inventory and prescription records have been purchased by CVS, which has a store across the street at 6210 Century Ave.
There are nine employees at the Fitchburg store, at its current location for 10 years and before that, a few blocks away at 3038 Fish Hatchery Road for at least 20 years. Walgreens, a block away at 2931 S. Fish Hatchery Road, will take over the pharmacy assets and prescriptions from that Bergmann location.
Brown and Christine Dryer have owned the local chain since 2000; Dryer is manager and pharmacist at the Middleton location. Two more Bergmann stores, at 529 S. Midvale Blvd. and in Oregon, closed in 2006.
Brown said he will take a job as a pharmacist at Walgreens, and at least a couple of the other pharmacists have jobs elsewhere. Employment for the other workers is still under negotiation, he said.
Brown acknowledged that small, local pharmacies can't offer customers all of the advantages that the big chains have, such as drive-up windows, extended hours and rewards programs.
Asked if there is a future for independents, Brown said, "Not unless something is done about reimbursement rates."