Deborah Vickers, front end manager at West End Drug, is in charge of selecting the store's nonmedical merchandise. ISLANDER PHOTO BY SAMUEL SHEPHERD

West End Drug has greeting cards and gifts, too

BAR HARBOR —West End Drug is a lot of things. It’s a soda fountain, a restaurant, a pharmacy and a medical supply store. Considering some of the antiques displayed on the wall, it could even be a museum.

A drugstore also needs to carry emergency essentials and last-minute gifts. This is a role that Deborah Vickers, front end manager at West End, takes seriously.

Merchandising for a drugstore in a town with an influx of seasonal visitors and a modest permanent population presents unique challenges, she said.

There are selfie sticks, lint rollers, candy and calendars.

“It is a little tricky because we have two different clienteles: summer visitors and the year-round people,” she said. “We really try to think of what people traveling here would want, and we do listen to our locals.”

Vickers, who joined the team at West End in 2015, said that local residents had been asking for an expanded line of greeting cards. In response, the store started carrying cards from Colorado-based Leanin’ Tree. There are three rotating stands of cards placed on the right-hand wall of the store, easily visible to window shoppers.

“They brought in a great line of cards that’s well-liked by tourists and the locals love,” Vickers said. “They’re at a great price point, and the company tailors their designs so people from out of state like them as well.”

She said the store is always trying to keep a range of products on a spectrum of different prices.

“You have to be aware of the price point,” Vickers said. “You don’t want locals to think you’re jacking up the prices for tourists.”

Some of the best-selling items, like slippers and sandals, depend on the season.

If there is an item a customer is looking for and West End doesn’t carry it, its relationship with distributors can allow some items to be shipped to the store in as little as one business day.

Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd is a University of Maine graduate and a former Bar Harbor reporter for the Mount Desert Islander.
Samuel Shepherd

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