|Pharmacist Des Lardner will farewell the Dimboola community after nearly two decades of service.
Des and his wife Robyn have sold Dimboola Pharmacy to Melbourne-born sisters Phuong Tu and Tam Tu, who will take over the business this month.
Des bought the Lloyd Street business from retiring pharmacist Norman Russell in 2000, and relocated the store in 2005 to its current location on the opposite side of the street.
The street was closed off for the opening of the new pharmacy, with Des arriving on a camel. In the years since, the pharmacy has won numerous awards - including the Wimmera Business Awards retail business of the year trophy in 2018 - and led community health promotions.
The business also established a partnership with Dimboola Memorial Secondary College to sponsor promotions appropriate for teenagers, such as the visit by “the Rev” John McMahon back in 2017.
Des said his years in Dimboola had been extremely rewarding, but the time was right for change.
“I am very grateful to the Dimboola community for welcoming me to town when Norm retired, particularly Daryl Argall, who really introduced Robyn and I to everyone and made it easier to commence business,” he said.
“I am indebted to the staff who have been so loyal to me during my time in Dimboola, including pharmacist Andrea Weidemann who has worked for me for over 20 years, and store manager Tammy Brown, whom I have worked with for nearly 19 years.
“It has been a fantastic chapter in my working life, and rewarding in so many ways.
“I thank the community for its continued support of the business, and I know this will continue for the new owners.”
Des’s work in Dimboola and beyond has earned him both national and international recognition, including the Guardian Pharmacist of the Year award in 2002; the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Jack Thomas Trophy; the Sigma Centenary Award; and recognition in the pharmacy Guild Hall of Fame.
Des, who has a Masters in Herbal Medicine, is well-known for developing a colic mixture in the 1980s. The remedy featured in a story on television show A Current Affair in 2008, and was the subject of the 2014 book No More Tears, which Des co-authored.
Des said he had seen many changes during his nearly 50 years in the industry, including computerisation, the introduction of pre-prepared medicines, and dramatic increases in lifestyle diseases.
Des, who will continue to own Organic in Horsham, said Phuong and Tam looked forward to meeting the community and continuing the pharmacy’s role in providing dependable information and healthcare.
Phuong is a consultant pharmacist who has worked in community pharmacy and aged care for about 12 years. She has a special interest in geriatric health and enjoys working collaboratively with senior patients.
Tam graduated from La Trobe University in 2017 with honours before becoming Kaniva’s managing pharmacist. She loves the personable patient-pharmacist relationship unique to country pharmacies.
Phuong and Tam are both accredited to vaccinate and hope to adopt innovations and ideas that will lead to greater health outcomes for Dimboola people.
Des invites customers to visit the pharmacy on Saturday 14th September to say farewell and meet Phuong, Tam and their families.