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Short move, big change

In this file photo, GuidePoint's Jason Turner stands to the side of the sign for his current location while his future location is under construction behind him in downtown Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- GuidePoint Pharmacy will soon be moving from its location at 923 Sixth Ave., but it won't be going far -- its new location is just next door.

"We're solving our own space issue and cleaning up an area of town that needed it, too," said Jason Turner, owner of GuidePoint. "We'll vacate our current space and move next door."

The move will almost double the space for the locally-owned pharmacy, from 1,700 square feet to 3,500, using a floor plan specifically made for GuidePoint. The building is currently being gutted, and except for a single load-supporting wall in the middle, even the walls are being removed.

About 1,500 square feet of the new building is being torn down and the space will be utilized as off-street parking. The new location, once the home of Malters, Shepherd, and Von Holtum, was purchased from David Von Holtum in June 2009, before Von Holtum was killed in a September 2009 car accident.

The project to change the space for GuidePoint began in March, and should be complete in July. The building's new exterior will be redone with new brick and a stucco look.

"It's going to be really attractive, and hopefully will be our home for a long time to come," Turner said.

The larger space offers many advantages for the pharmacy, not the least of which is its increased workspace for employees.

"We've got so many people working back there, we lose some efficiencies that way," Turner said.

When GuidePoint got started in its current location about 6 years ago, there were three full-time employees, including a pharmacist, and two part-timers. Now there are three full-time pharmacists, seven other full-time employees and six part-time workers.

There will be more room for tasks like medication packaging, one of GuidePoint's popular services for individuals as well as group homes and assisted living facilities. By putting a month's worth of medications in color coded cards, the risk of medication errors is reduced.

The space GuidePoint uses for compounding medicines will also double from its current six by eight foot space. Pharmacists can convert medication from one form to another, for example, pills to lotions, or form medication into candy or pet treats.

Moving will also allow the pharmacy to stock more non-prescription drugs in different quantities. Turner would like to stock twice the over-the-counter medicine the store currently offers.

More retail space will be available for the store's popular diabetic shoes, which can be heat-activated to mold perfectly to a person's feet for a better fit. The shoes are also seamless, reducing the chances of a person developing foot problems. In diabetics, some of those problems could lead to infections or even losing toes.

The new building's floor plan also includes two private counseling rooms, which can be used for vaccinations as well.

Health officials have pushed hard for vaccination in the past few years, and pharmacies have stepped up to offer more vaccines, for shingles, pneumonia, H1N1 novel influenza and seasonal flu. GuidePoint will be able to administer vaccines in one of its private counseling rooms.

The rooms will also be useful for medication therapy management, in which a pharmacist has a one-on-one interview with a patient, reviewing medication lists for possible drug interactions and cost-effectiveness, Turner said.

"Why spend the extra health care money when you don't have to?" Turner said. "If (a medicine) is too expensive, they might not take it correctly, or at all."

Checking the medication list for medicines that could be replaced by less expensive generics alone can save patients money.

The private rooms can also be used to train patients on how to use a nebulizer or a blood-glucose monitor.

"So far the community has been very supportive," Turner said of his pending relocation.

GuidePoint Pharmacy is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays.