Legacy of service and smiles at Moline’s Uptown Drug

It’s the end of an era for a familiar Moline business. Uptown Drug, 1610 15th Street Place, will be closing its doors for the last time later this month.

It’s hard to say goodbye to an old friend like Uptown Drug. But with going-out-of-business signs up in the windows, it marks the end of Moline’s last independent pharmacy.

“It’s tougher and tougher to stay open,” said owner Scott Sunner, 60, who plans on retiring to Arizona.

Inside this dad and daughter shop, you’ll still find Scott and Kim Sunner busy at work on a chilly Monday. After 35 years on the corner, December 20 will likely be their last day together in the pharmacy.

“Third parties don’t pay enough,” he said. “It’s hard to stay above water.”

At Uptown Drug, a shopper could find just about anything. There was a family atmosphere behind the counter and a down-home philosophy that reached to the next generation.

“Everybody respects him because he does so much for them,” Kim said. “He helps them out especially when it’s really needed.”

That legacy of service really made Uptown Drug a special place. It’s that connection with customers that brought them back for more.

While Scott hoped to sell the store, there just weren’t any takers. Starting pharmacists can make much more money by working at a big chain.

“It’s more time consuming than challenging,” he said. “You’ve got to be here. You’ve got to be here nine hours a day.”

Business was good, and Scott really enjoyed being his own boss. Now, it feels like the end of an era. Filling the final orders, they’ll miss their customers the most.

“The best part I can say out of it is that it’s family,” Kim said.

While the building is for sale, it will no longer be a drug store. That’s part of a non-compete clause with Walgreen’s, which is taking over his accounts and inventory.

Until then, the store will be open Monday-Friday from 9-6 and from 9-1 on Saturday.

“It’s been fun,” Scott concluded. “It’s been a good run. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

That’s a prescription for success from Uptown Drug.

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