The History of Vashon Pharmacy
Medication has been available on Vashon Island well before recorded history as the native American tribes shared and bartered for natural remedies in early days. Traditional medicines, collectively known as Patent medicine around the early 1900’s were sold in downtown Vashon by ancestors of the Garvin family among others. The first registered “druggist” moved to the Island and set up shop in 1933 a few doors north from the current Vashon Pharmacy.
The Vashon Drug Store remained in this location until around 1950 when Bill Willingham took over, renamed it Vashon Pharmacy, and eventually moved his enterprise to the current location. This larger space allowed Bill to expand his gift lines and increase sales, and he eventually purchased the holdings of Burton Pharmacy, and hired it’s owner Cecil Perkins.
These two beloved citizens provided prescription service together to Islanders until the early 1970’s. At that time, Cecil contracted a terminal illness and eventually passed away.
In 1976, Tom Langland a life-long Islander who worked all of his high school years with Mr. Willingham, came on board as a full time pharmacist. Things got challenging in 1977 when the Pharmacy and two other adjoining businesses burned to the ground in the middle of the night. The fire department responded quickly, but was unable to douse the fires due to inadequate water flow from ancient 4 inch water mains.
King County would not allow re-building these businesses until larger water mains were installed, so the Pharmacy set up a temporary store in the space that now houses Isala Restaurant (formerly Express Cuisine).
The Pharmacy offered a handful of gifts and a full Prescription department while the new store was being re-built next door. The new building, a third larger than the old space, opened about a year later. Over the ensuing years, Bill was able to relax a bit more, travel some, and take some “golf days”.
In 1992, Bill sold Vashon Pharmacy to his son David Willingham, also a pharmacist, and Tom as equal partners. This partnership is solid after 25 years and the store has been run pretty much in the same family-owned model since 1950.
Tom and Dave added 3 doctorate level pharmacists during their ownership and grew the front-end of the business to the level that it is currently. They also completed a remodel of the pharmacy and most recently the front face of the store.
In August of 2017, Tom and Dave sold the business to Tyler and Amy Young. Tyler and Amy, both from small towns, grew up in an area supported by a pharmacy much like this one. With Tyler’s background in rural independent pharmacy and Amy’s background in retail they found Vashon Pharmacy to be a perfect place to use their familiar skill set in a community that truly appreciates the service of a family owned business.
See article in Vashon Beachcomber: https://www.vashonbeachcomber.com/news/longtime-owners-sell-vashon-pharmacy/
Tom and Dave continued to work for Tyler and Amy after the sale during their transition into retirement. In the spring of 2018 Vashon Pharmacy welcomed Lauryn Allyn, another PharmD. To the team to help fulfill the pharmacist hours left by Tom and Dave.
Vashon Pharmacy has made several technology upgrades in the recent few years to help keep up with the ever-changing pharmacy landscape. The addition of the Parata Maxx and Eyecon technologies along with an updated IVR phone system now provide the top-notch services widely used by the industry and help serve the Vashon community in a fast and efficient way.