The Hodels’ plan was only to stay in Alaska for a few years. Thirty-seven years later the couple still calls the state home.
Tom Hodel said he and his wife Lyn Hodel moved to Soldotna and started the Soldotna Professional Pharmacy with another couple about seven years after first arriving to town.
Now, the Hodels have sold the business. Tom Hodel has retired from his career as a pharmacist and Lyn Hodel has retired from her office manager position at the pharmacy. Tom Hodel has seen a lot of change and growth in Soldotna, but what hasn’t changed, he said, is the quality of the people.
“We’ve been blessed with so many good customers over the years,” he said.
He said keeping not only customers happy but also staff happy has helped the business to continue to do well throughout the years.
The pharmacy, which began with five employees, has grown along with the city and now has 30 employees.
One challenge Tom Hodel has faced in his career is keeping up with technological advances in the business.
“When I first started up here we had a calculator and a typewriter … and did all our patient profiles by hand,” he said. “Now virtually everything is done electronically.”
Other changes that the pharmacy has handled under Tom Hodel’s ownership include more complex government regulations and insurance companies’ dictations on reimbursement rates.
The Soldotna Chamber of Commerce presented the Hodels with the Pioneer Award in January for long-term community service. Tom Hodel said he was very humbled and honored to receive the award.
The sale of the pharmacy to the Kapuna Pharmacy Group, which owns pharmacies in Washington State, Hawaii and Alaska, was finalized last week.
“It’s strange,” Tom Hodel said about selling the business. “I have mixed emotions. I’m looking forward to retirement and less stress, but I’m certainly going to miss visiting with all of our customers and our staff.”
Kevin Faris, Kapuna CEO and president, said the company wants to keep pharmacy pretty much the same, but add any value it can.
“(Tom Hodel) has built a fantastic pharmacy that we’ll continue to operation in the same fashion it has been,” Faris said.
Kaylee Osowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.