Last Wednesday, April 17, the Seymour Walgreens Pharmacy on the east side of the square may have looked like any other day of business for the casual customer who walked in.
Yes, they may have noticed the trainers sent in by Walgreens were still present, but the neatly stocked shelves, new carpeting and bright blue accent paint may have distracted them enough that they failed to notice the smiles on the longtime pharmacy techs were a bit forced and the overall atmosphere was patently subdued.
Even Ernie Snyder, the registered pharmacist who had worked behind the counter for almost 17 years, was clearly preoccupied. It was he who had faithfully dispensed their prescriptions while expressing genuine interest in each person’s well being. It was to Snyder parents had turned for common sense solutions when money was tight. But today, despite its appearance, was any thing but normal.
Because April 17 was Snyder’s last day.
He had submitted his resignation to Walgreens, and it was accepted. After almost 30 years in his profession, Snyder was taking a break to think over his options and plan the next phase of his life.
“I already have five job offers,” said Snyder with a smile, “but I haven’t made a decision. People have been asking me like crazy, though.
“Before I do anything else, I’m going to take a week and fly to a resort in Belize to relax and unwind. Then I’ll decide something.”
Snyder said the hardest thing for him about leaving is to leave the people he has come to count as friends.
“I hate that part of it,” he admitted with emotion in his voice. “After all of these years, a lot of the people here (on staff) are like family.”
He had words to say to his customers, too.
“I want the people in our community to know these have been the best years of my professional life. It has been a privilege to have you as customers and friends. I am very sad to leave you.”
His remarks are consistent with the thoughts he expressed about his time as a community pharmacist.
“What I have enjoyed most,” he continued, “was actually making a difference in people’s lives as it pertained to health, especially educating them about medicine and saying to them, ‘Maybe now is the time to go to your doctor.’”
Snyder said the changes that have come upon his pharmacy over the last few years were a factor in his decision. On Nov. 1, 2008, he sold his Seymour Pharmacy to USA Drug, but he remained as their pharmacist. Then, in July 2012, Snyder learned that Walgreens purchased USA Drug properties, including the Seymour location. Recently, the Seymour location underwent remodeling and a change of many of their product lines.
“It’s been my baby for a long time,” he said. “It is hard to accept changes. Things are so different now. I haven’t been sleeping. And then, a few days ago, it hit me. So I made a choice to step aside, and I gave my notice.”