Pharmacists Bud Savage, left, and his son, Shane, seen Tuesday at their newly relocated, 2000-square-foot Oakland Pharmacy at the same spot as Buddies Groceries at 43 Main St. in Oakland. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

OAKLAND — Filling prescriptions and grocery shopping can all be done under one roof at a revamped 43 Main St.

After a quick stint on Kennedy Memorial Drive, Oakland Pharmacy returned to downtown Oakland in a new addition attached to Buddies Groceries.

“By getting them under the same roof, we just thought it would be better for the town,” co-owner Shane Savage said. “It’s kind of a one-stop shop.”

It is the reversal of a 2015 move when the pharmacy relocated out of the former True’s Pharmacy at 54 Main St. in downtown to a nearly three-times bigger, 6,000-square-foot-space at 907 Kennedy Memorial Drive.

Co-owners Shane and John “Bud” Savage, a father and son team, have now moved Oakland Pharmacy into a new 2,000-square-foot addition to Buddies Groceries at 43 Main St. in Oakland, which they purchased in the fall.

“Now we own the grocery store and the pharmacy, that was the biggest reason,” Shane Savage said. “The traffic volume up on KMD was 3 to 4 times that on Main Street, so we thought we’d hit more traffic coming into Oakland being up on KMD.”

When Dunkin’ opened in 2016, traffic went from four lanes to two. Vehicles moved faster, and they saw a slow decline in business once the traffic pattern was changed.

The Kennedy Memorial Drive space was originally rented, but the Savages now own the new Oakland Pharmacy location. They added a drive-thru, better parking and they put new siding on the building.

“We thought it would be neat to purchase a grocery store and diversify a little bit,” Shane Savage, 47, said. “We’ve got the traffic flow from both businesses, so I think it’s a win for both sides.”

Oakland Pharmacy and Buddies Groceries are now both located under the same roof at 43 Main St. in Oakland. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

Shane Savage, Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce’s Business Person of the Year in 2014, started working in the pharmacy industry as a 16-year-old at the former LaVerdiere’s Drug. A Lawrence High School graduate, Savage earned his bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from Northeastern University, and in 2012, completed the Comprehensive Compounding Course at the Professional Compounding Centers of America.

A second-generation pharmacist, Shane and his father purchased Unity Pharmacy in 2004 and opened Fairfield Pharmacy later that year. They opened the original downtown Oakland Pharmacy location in 2005 before moving to Kennedy Memorial Drive in 2015. The Savages built the Winslow location in 2009, where they also service the Colby College community.

The Savages take immense pride in taking personal care of their customers.

“We worked for the chains for quite a few years, especially me, and your hands were kind of tied as far as customer service and the time to give people that needed the time,” Bud Savage, 76, said. “By having our own pharmacies, we staff them heavily, so we have plenty of time. Being independent, it’s just kind of nice to be able to take care of people. That’s what we both really enjoy doing.”

Shane Savage, who was recently named Central Maine Growth Council’s 2020 Developer of the Year, purchased Buddies Grocers from a local ownership group and took over Sept. 1. The new location of Oakland Pharmacy opened on Dec. 14.

Their move into the grocery business has precedent. At the KMD location, Oakland Pharmacy carried some groceries. It offered lottery tickets and sold chips, wine, bread, dairy and more.

“We just didn’t have it in the volume that they have it here, and we weren’t established on the grocery side,” Shane Savage said. “People forever have been coming to Buddies Groceries on Main Street.”

They have 40 employees on the pharmacy side and 20 grocery employees, most of whom were retained from previous ownership.

“We tried to keep the same crew,” Bud Savage said. “We haven’t cut back at all on our crew or anything like that. We’ve actually added to it.”

Oakland Pharmacy moved out of downtown Oakland in 2015, but is back less than five years later. At the time, Shane Savage attributed the move to a need for more space, parking and having a more consistent traffic flow going by.

“We’ve always had a pharmacy downtown, and then when Shane moved out to the location on KMD, it kind of left a hole for us,” Oakland Town Manager Gary Bowman said. “It’s going to be an attraction for more people to look downtown to operate their businesses out of.”

Oakland is teeming with new businesses, which Bowman thinks is in part a residual effect from Waterville’s downtown restoration. The low mil rate of 16.4 also attracts new businesses, many new owners said.

On Kennedy Memorial Drive alone, J&H Music, Oakland Supply Co. and Center Stage Boutique have opened in recent months. A new location of The Ice Cream Shoppe is expected to open in May 2021.

“KMD is on fire,” Bowman said.

The former Oakland Pharmacy building at 907 Kennedy Memorial Drive is owned by Pondwood LLC and is being leased by Don Plourde of Coldwell Banker Plourde Real Estate. The sign indicating its availability went up last week.

“We’re looking to lease it,” Plourde said. “I think some office, retail or a flex use that wants good exposure.”

Bud Savage, who was also raised in Fairfield, took notice of the influx of businesses in Oakland. He anticipates it expanding more, and hopes Oakland Pharmacy and Buddies remain a key cog in local development.

“We just like being part of freshening up downtown,” Bud Savage said.

Pharmacists Shane Savage, center, and his father, Bud, right, are seen Tuesday with Shane’s fiancée, Brooke Dustin, at the new 2000-square-foot Oakland Pharmacy. The new pharmacy is connected to Buddies Groceries at 43 Main St. in Oakland. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

 

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