About Town: New pharmacy in Okatie specializes in 'compounding'

January 31, 2010 

Tyrus Smith didn't want to give up the pharmacy where he worked in Okatie in 2006, but another stakeholder was ready to sell.

After the buyers closed the pharmacy in Riverwalk Commons about a year later, the center's owner pushed Smith to open a new drug store to attract more traffic there, Smith said.

After almost a year of planning, Smith has obliged, opening Coastal Apothecary about a month ago at 149 Riverwalk Blvd.

The pharmacy is off S.C. 170 about two miles north of U.S. 278. It's the seventh pharmacy in which Smith has been involved during his 18 years in the business.

"I've culled everything I've gained in the past and put it into one store," Smith said.

A primary feature of this pharmacy is its capacity for "compounding," a practice in which Smith buys pharmaceutical-grade raw ingredients from wholesalers to make medicines from scratch.

A similar pharmacy recently opened on Hilton Head Island.

Smith said compounding is particularly popular among:

• Veterinarians seeking to adjust doses for the varying weights of animals.

• Obstetricians and gynecologists tailoring their patients' hormone replacement therapy.

• Athletes looking for custom-made pain-relieving gels that can be applied directly to a specific part of the body to avoid the upset stomachs and headaches caused by pills.

• Dentists who use anesthetic lollipops to help numb patients' mouths.

Smith's pharmacy also includes an over-the-counter pharmacy and a dollar store with disinfectants, laundry detergent, hand sanitizer, aromatic candles and the like.

Smith is a Savannah resident who recently rented an apartment in Bluffton because he's spending so much time at his new business. He manages a staff that includes pharmacist Neil Ames and pharmacy technician Lacy Wood.

Smith and his staff especially enjoy compounding because of the interaction it fosters between doctor, patient and pharmacist, he said.

"It's a real hodgepodge of really neat things we can do," he said.


Other recent business openings, closings and changes in the area:

• Sun City Hilton Head resident Lorraine Paruta recently opened Shear Sensations, a full-service hair salon, at 101 Commerce Place West in Okatie.

Paruta, who moved to South Carolina two and a half years ago, previously owned two salons in Florida. She decided to open her third when a local salon where she had been working moved into larger quarters.

"I wanted to stay small and quaint and more personalized," she said.


As you drive around southern Beaufort County, you notice a sign for a new shop, new construction or road work. Or you realize that a store you once frequented has gone out of business. About Town answers the question, "What's going on here?" If you have information about something that has changed the local landscape or if you wonder about one of those changes and would like us to tell you more about it, contact reporter Josh McCann at jmccann@islandpacket.com or 843-706-8145.

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