The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 2, 2012

Martella’s Pharmacy moves into new location

Randy Griffith

— You can’t get fries with your order, but you can get about anything your doctor prescribes, pick up a greeting card, print out photos and grab a cold soda at Martella Pharmacy’s new Parkhill location in the former Burger King.

“It’s all about service,” co-owner Joe Martella said at the new 1932 William Penn Ave. location. “It was a way to put in a drive-through for our customers.”

The new store, which opened Monday, features an expanded gift shop, a larger health and beauty line, more snack items and a new cooler.

A grand opening celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday will feature entertainment, prizes, refreshments and special bargains, co-owner Jackie Martella, Joe’s sister, said at the store.

Parkhill became Martella’s fourth location in January when the family-owned business bought the former Park Hill Rexall Drug Store in the nearby Park Hill Shopping Centre. The original Martella’s Pharmacy is at 1079 Franklin St., across from Memorial Medical Center’s main campus. Additional locations are in Boswell and Central City.

While they were pleased with the original Parkhill location, the owners were already planning the expansion and move to the Burger King building, Joe Martella said.

“We knew where the future was,” he said. “We didn’t really have a grand opening in January.”

“We wanted to see how the business ran,” Jackie Martella said. “We wanted to get to know the customers and what they wanted.”

Knowing the customer describes Martella’s business model and is the basis of its success in competing against big name national chains, supermarket pharmacies and discount stores, Jackie Martella said.

“We know your name,” she said. “I don’t feel it’s a job, coming to work. It’s people you know. We care about our customers.”

Customers appreciate that they are keeping their money in the community, Joe Martella said, noting that Martella’s sponsors a full gamut of youth sports teams, among other involvement.

The business is a family affair, Jackie Martella said. On moving day Saturday five of the six Martella siblings and their families were on hand to haul merchandise across the parking lot. All her brothers and sisters have roles in the business that capitalize on their unique talents, she added.

Even as Martella’s Pharmacy celebrates its new location, the family is already working on a fifth store.

Martella’s of Windber will open in mid-November in the former Sheetz location at the corner of Graham Avenue and Ninth Street.