That’s my pharmacist

That’s my pharmacist
Randy McKee

In addition to prescription medications, Premier Pharmacy also will carry over-the-counter medications, greeting cards and more.


If you’re in Berlin and overhear someone say, “That’s my pharmacist,” they’re probably talking about Joel Gause, who on a recent walk down Main Street could be seen on his way to deliver a prescription. In the winter months, you may spot him inside local businesses administering flu shots to employees.

Premier Pharmacy opened Monday, June 18 and is preparing for the grand opening on Friday, July 20. Although you might not recognize his face just yet, his pharmacy may already look familiar.

The brick building at 4925 W. Main St. was an original Mast Pharmacy location, and for the new guy on the block, the grand opening is a homecoming.

Gause’s interest in pharmacy and his relationship to Mast Pharmacy goes back to his junior year at Hiland High School when his chemistry teacher, Don Blanchard, arranged for him to shadow Rod Mast.

“The shadowing experience turned into an internship. From there, Rod became my first mentor,” Gause said. “Prior to my interest in pharmacy, I had no idea what I wanted to do. My main focus was on finding a college where I could play basketball.”

Playing as a guard, Gause tore his ACL his freshman year at Ohio Northern University. “Even before my injury I knew my primary focus would soon have to change away from basketball and toward pharmacy, the injury just accelerated the process,” he said.

After graduating from pharmacy school and working as a pharmacist for five years, Gause found the real focus of his chosen profession is people.

“In the hustle and bustle of cramming as much in a day as we can, pharmacists’ educations aren’t fully utilized to benefit people. People drop off their prescriptions, their prescriptions are filled, they pay for their prescriptions and they’re out the door,” Gause said. “As a profession, we’ve gotten away from the reason we’re in medicine.”

Gause’s junior year at Hiland was auspicious for another reason. It was the year he met his wife Layla, who was a year behind him at Hiland and now is a nurse at Pomerene Hospital. They have two daughters: two-year-old Avery and six-month-old Emmie.

“It’s special to be opening up shop in your hometown,” Gause said. “Layla and I always felt that we would come back. Being in health care, we have the opportunity to serve the community that has given us so much.”

Premier Pharmacy is a return to personalized pharmaceutical care. “My goal is to have a relationship with every person who walks in the door, to have an idea of their goals and to help them make the best decisions for their health and wellness,” Gause said.

Believing it’s essential people understand the medications they’re taking and ask questions, the pharmacist’s counter is not a barrier to compliance.

“The rewarding part of my profession is not putting pills in bottles; it’s answering people’s questions, making sure they understand what they’re taking, why they’re taking it and when they’re supposed to take it,” Gause said. “Putting pills in a bottle does someone no good if that’s all I’m doing.”

His approach encourages people to make informed decisions and feel confident in the medications they’re taking. The path leads to higher rates of compliance and fewer castaway prescription bottles collecting in medicine cabinets.

Since the soft opening, one question Gause gets asked frequently is about transferring prescriptions. “People don’t need to go to the doctor and get a new prescription,” he said.  “All they need to do is give me the name of the medication and their birthday That’s it.”

Spending a lot of time on the other side of the counter, Gause is stocking shelves as well. Premier Pharmacy has a full line of over-the-counter medications, health and beauty products, and will soon have greeting cards.

People are welcome to stop in and take a look around, and Gause said if you can’t find what you’re looking for, he can get it to you with a day’s notice.

Success doesn’t come in a bottle according to Gause. “Whatever success we have is going to be because of people putting trust in us and bringing us their business, so we want to take that trust seriously and give back where we can,” he said.

Visit Premier Pharmacy at 4925 W. Main St. in Berlin or call 330-893-0290. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Ask about becoming a Premier Preferred Customer for free delivery, discounted pricing and exclusive sales.

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