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Meadow Vista pharmacist retires after 31 years

By: Gloria Young /Journal Staff Writer
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For three decades, Meadow Vista Pharmacy dispensed medicines, guided customers through the maze of drug instructions and side effects, and contributed to the small-town neighborly ambiance. 
On July 9, owners Richard and Jennifer Peatman closed the doors of their independent drug store as they headed into retirement. The closure of the business means the closest pharmacy for residents is now in Auburn.
The Peatmans had been married for three years and were living in Southern California when they moved to Sacramento, where Richard Peatman worked for a pharmacy chain and also was employed at an independent pharmacy for several years.
“From Sacramento, we decided to open a pharmacy in a smaller community,” Jennifer Peatman said this week. “We did a lot of research to see where a community would support a new pharmacy and we opened from scratch. We’ve been very happy in Meadow Vista. We particularly like this foothill area.”
Initially, the pharmacy was in the Village Center, by what is now Holiday Market. 
“After 10 years, we moved down the street to the current location, a building we built and we own,” she said.
One of Richard Peatman’s favorite aspects of the job was counseling patients, Jennifer said.
“He was outstanding at that,” she said. “He knows a huge amount about medicine. He would tell people about all the side effects, all the potential risks and the benefits that outweighed the risks. Many, many people would consult with him.”
That meant staying up-to-date on pharmaceuticals, going beyond the continuing education requirements to maintain his license. 
“He does a lot of reading,” she said. “He reads extensively in addition to what’s required. He attended medical seminars. He kept up extensively. Medicine is changing so fast in this period of time. ... He would do his best and research if a patient had a request on a certain medication he wasn’t up on, turning to his medical and pharmaceutical subscriptions rather than just looking online.” 
For both of the Peatmans, a special part of being part of the community was the friendships they formed.
“We got to know people,” Jennifer Peatman said. “Being in a small town and having the same people come in, we got to know them as friends rather than as just patients.”
“The best part of the job was the community support,” Richard Peatman added. “People are very friendly in Meadow Vista. If they hadn’t been so supportive, I couldn’t have reached the point of retirement. I’m very thankful for the folks coming in. You couldn’t operate a pharmacy in a nicer community. It was wonderful.” 
In addition to prescription medicine, the store offered an array of products along with over-the-counter medications.
The pharmaceutical world experienced a lot of changes over the years, many of those changes having a negative impact on the dwindling number of independent pharmacies. It had a cumulative effect on the Peatmans. 
“Discounts for our medicine weren’t as great as for the chains,” Jennifer said. “Some insurance companies only contracted for a particular lower price. More and more insurance companies are negotiating deals with (the pharmacy chains), which get drugs cheaper. In each of the past several years — six or seven — business has declined.”
With the closure of the store, CVS purchased the medications and files. “Once (the information) gets into CVS system, it is everywhere. So it is in all of them,” Richard Peatman said.
The Peatmans are looking forward to “not working so hard,” Jennifer said.
“At least for now we are staying in Meadow Vista,” she said. “Eventually we are going to downsize. We plan to spend more time with the kids and grandkids and be more active in church and on the mission field. We plan to do some traveling but have no specific goals right now.”  
The Peatmans’ daughter, Auburn resident Melanie Welch, describes her father as an “encyclopedia of knowledge.”
“As one of the last few local independent pharmacies, patients have flocked to the small store to show their support for a business that has offered them friendly hometown service and some of the best medication consultation and management in Placer County,” she said in an email. “Richard and his wife, Jennifer, are extremely grateful for their loyal customers, who have kept the small store in business throughout the years. The last few days of the business are bittersweet for the close-knit community as everyone says goodbye to a beloved ‘monument’ of Meadow Vista and wishes the Peatmans a wonderful and well-deserved retirement.”
It was a wonderful run and a great place to work, Richard Peatman said.
“The chance to talk to the people — they were so friendly,” he said. “That’s the thing I’ll miss the most — that communication.”