Business opportunity

City sells former TIC to pharmacy; will move in 2018

By Deb Hadachek – Telescope editor

A longtime downtown business has purchased the former Travel Information Center on US81 Highway at 12th ST and plans to move in early 2018.

Tony Bombardier and Kevin Couture, Belleville, owners of Arbuthnot Drug Company, entered an agreement to purchase the building for $75,000. The sale was approved by the Belleville City Council Monday night.

“We don’t own the building were are currently in,” Couture said of the downtown location at 1806 M ST. The building is owned by Bob Arbuthnot, Belleville.

“We started talking about this a year ago when it looked like the TIC might become available,” he said.

The pharmacists said they hope to continue to practice at least another 20 years, and considered building a new pharmacy, but remodeling the TIC was more financially feasible.

Architects who specialize in pharmacy design have been retained to help with the renovation.

“We believe the new location will be easier to access for our patients,” Bombardier said. He said parking and curbs are more accessible at the TIC.

Couture said the new design will also enable pharmacists to counsel patients in private, something their present location doesn’t offer.

The business will keep some of its present gift and retail lines, although not as large of a stock as in the past, Couture said.

The pharmacists said the name of the business will be changed, something they have considered since they merged Crossroads Pharmacy, owned by Bombardier, and Arbuthnot Drug four years ago. Couture has been a pharmacist in Belleville since 2002 and purchased Arbuthnot Drug in 2010.

They said that all current staff will be retained in the move to the US81 and 12th ST location.

There has been a pharmacy at 1806 M ST since 1880. The Arbuthnot family established their business in 1914and moved to the location in 1946.

The TIC was a source of debate for the Belleville council for more than a year, over concerns that the retail items sold at the site didn’t cover operating costs. Supporters said the TIC encouraged travel and tourism in Republic County and North Central Kansas.

The travel center was closed when 12th ST was closed last year for highway construction as the council considered it’s fate.