From Pizza Hut to pharmacy

Pharmacist who works in Cedarburg plans to open independent drugstore in former Port Washington restaurant building undergoing renovations

THE FORMER PIZZA HUT on Port Washington’s north side will become a pharmacy operated by Michael Vineburg this summer. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

The former Pizza Hut restaurant in Port Washington is about to get a new lease on life as an independent pharmacy.

Renovations at the former restaurant have begun as pharmacist Michael Vineburg prepares to open the pharmacy in late summer.

“I’m very excited,” Vineburg said Tuesday, noting he has been looking for the right spot for an independent pharmacy for some time.

“The Pizza Hut just seemed like the right place,” he said.

Independent pharmacies have more to offer to people than chain stores or big box operations, he said, and that’s a big part of why he wants to open one.

“I have found independent pharmacies generally have much more time for patients,” he said. “That’s what an independent pharmacy offers — solid relationships and customer service.”

  In his current job at Ye Olde Pharmacy in Cedarburg, Vineburg said, he knows 90% of the customers.

“I call them by their name and really get to know them,” he said.

At larger drug stores, Vineburg said, “It’s more of a numbers game than anything.”

In addition to traditional retail pharmacy services, Vineburg said he will offer supplements, medical equipment such as wheelchairs, canes and crutches, and provide medications for long-term care facilities.

He will also have a compounding department where he makes custom medications prescribed by a physician for people and pets — a service few pharmacies offer.

He’s also collaborating with a local physician on a collaborative practice agreement that will allow him to conduct tests for such things as Covid-19, anticoagulants and hormones and, if the results fall within specific parameters, write prescriptions and get the medications to these patients immediately.

Vineburg, who graduated from the pharmacy school at Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon in 2016, said he began working at Dan Fitzgerald Pharmacy in Whitefish Bay while he was a student.

“I really saw how great independent pharmacies could be,” he said.

After graduating, he worked at the critical inpatient pharmacy at Columbia St. Mary’s Ozaukee Hospital in Mequon for 10 years, then at the hospital’s emergency medicine pharmacy and also worked to reinstate its emergency medicine pharmacy program.

“It was interesting stuff,” Vineburg said.

He then became the manager of Ye Olde Pharmacy, where he has been for the last four years.

While looking for a place to set up his own shop, Vineburg said, he realized there wasn’t an independent pharmacy in northern Ozaukee County. He began looking around the area and settled on the former Pizza Hut building.

His father-in-law Brad Shovers bought the building last month, and Vineburg will be leasing it from him.

“The building had to be pretty much completely gutted,” Vineburg said, noting they have been working to clean it out.

Renovations to the building, which were recommended for approval by the Design Review Board Tuesday, include removing what Bob Harris, the city’s director of planning and development, called the “Pizza Hut peak” atop the building and the removal of the parking area on the south side to accommodate a drive-through window.

In addition, Vineburg said, he will offer delivery service as well as mail service.

The parking lot on the north side of the building will be seal coated and restriped, and the building painted white with grey trim.

“That’ll freshen it up,” board member Jeremy Hartline said. “That’s going to be a vast improvement.”

The proposal goes to the Plan Commission for approval on April 21.

Vineburg said he has talked to former mayor Marty Becker, who owned and operated Port Apothecary just south of the Pizza Hut building for decades, and Becker has been very helpful.

“He is super on board with this,” Vineburg said. “He may even end up picking up a few shifts.”


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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