Austin-based drug store acquires 7 pharmacies

An Austin-based drug store is acquiring six pharmacies in southern Minnesota and one in Iowa.

Astrup Drug, which operates Sterling Drug and is located at 905 N Main St. in Austin, announced Tuesday it has purchased Rushford Drug Co. and its two pharmacies in Rushford, along with ones in Harmony, Spring Grove, Caledonia and La Crescent. Astrup also announced last week it bought Lutz Pharmacy of Altoona, Iowa.

The seven new drug stores brings Astrup’s total to 18. According to Astrup’s website, its 11 other drug stores are all in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa: Adrian, Albert Lea, Austin, Buffalo, Byron, Fairmont, Faribault, Hastings, Osage, Iowa, Owatonna and Worthington.

Tom Witt, owner of Rushford Drug, said crucial to selling his pharmacies was finding a buyer that would maintain a presence in small communities and was family-owned, according to a press release.

“The acquisition of these stores will strengthen our footprint in southern Minnesota and give us the ability to be the independent pharmacy of choice for those throughout much of the I-90 corridor,” said Sam Ewing, vice president of operations for Astrup.

Witt’s employees have been notified of the change and know the intention of Astrup is to maintain current staffing and locations, according to the release.

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