'The people need it': Pharamasave Bala becomes town's first pharmacy in 25 years

For the first time in about 25 years, Bala has a pharmacy.

Pharmasave Bala officially opened its doors Oct. 15 at the Bala Pines Plaza, located at 3181 Muskoka District Rd. 169.

The pharmacy is owned by Christine Bickle, Clarissa De Peralta, and Jennifer Ramirez, who is the main pharmacist at the location. Bickle and De Peralta are co-owners of the Gravenhurst Pharmasave at the Muskoka Wharf, along with partner John Paul Gloria.

“We’ve had so much success here in the Gravenhurst store that we thought of expanding. We actually looked at the Bala location about three years ago,” said Bickle. “It wasn’t the right timing because we were so busy with opening Gravenhurst.”

In early 2021, the owner of the Bala Pines Plaza approached them about opening a store there.

“We just thought it was like fate to go ahead,” said Bickle. “It’s a growing community and they don't have a pharmacy. They have an LCBO and a Beer Store but no pharmacy.”

Having a pharmacy in Bala will save people time and effort travelling elsewhere, she explained.

“There are a lot of people from Bala and Torrance and even MacTier that have to come in to Gravenhurst to get their prescriptions filled or go all the way to Port Carling,” she said. “The people need it.”

The store sells essential health care items, has a small giftware section and will also be carrying M & M meats. Beyond filling prescriptions, the pharmacy does transfers, medication reviews, blister packs, and faxes doctors for renewals.

“If you are in pain, if you're sick, you have to drive 15 to 20 minutes to the closest pharmacy. It's so handy now,” said Ramirez of the new location. “That’s what we are here for, to give that support to them.”

The Bala Pharmasave is open year-round, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. It can be reached at 705-762-3333.

The store's grand opening is Saturday, Nov. 20. There will be door prizes, draws, and free gift bags for the first 100 customers.