Travis Rusch uses farm lessons in starting pharmacy
Travis Rusch, like most of his family members, grew up on the family farms in southern Knox County, he worked there and learned his lessons on life there, but his interests took him on a different track. An interest in chemistry led him to Purdue, not to the college of agriculture, but to the school of pharmacy. Now, after several stops at other drug stores, Travis has just reached his one-year anniversary of operating Rusch’s Southside Pharmacy in Vincennes.
“I was working for a pharmacy in Sullivan about the time I heard that Deusterburg and Northside Pharmacies had closed in Vincennes,” said Rusch. “I realized then that I wanted my own store and began working toward opening my own store.”
Opening that store provided plenty of challenges and even wound up sending him back to a place where his pharmacy career began. “When I was a student at Vincennes University, I worked part time at Brasseur’s Pharmacy down 15th and Willow,” said Rusch.
“When I began looking for a place to open a new store that same building was available. It is close to the hospital and as someone who grew up in the south Knox area, it was the place to be.”
Even though the building was readymade for a pharmacy, it was not move-in ready. The building had been closed for years and by the time it was cleaned up, Rusch was left with an empty shell and a pile of work to do.
“I spent five years working on approvals from the Drug Enforcement Administration and getting the state licenses. Then we began the negotiations with the various health insurance companies that operate in the area. All the while we were trying to put the place together, building shelves and counters.
We must have made hundreds of trips to Neihaus to get the place open.” Those trials in getting set up in some ways sent Rusch back to his farming roots. “Just growing up on a farm you learn how to get things done,” he said. “I also relied a lot on my family. My dad, Joe Rusch Jr., was a tremendous help. I also had some cousins who would come in a lend a hand. The thing is, this is my operation; and if something isn’t working, you can’t call corporate. You have to figure out how to handle it yourself.”
Getting the store open was one challenge. Getting customers to come in was another, and it turned out those old south Knox connections helped.
Read more about this on page 44 of our ONLINE ISSUE.