Fernley pharmacist celebrating 33 years in the business

When Bob Tucker of Fallon graduated from high school he wanted to be a crop duster.

His father, who owned two Fallon pharmacies at the time, convinced him to go to college for one year.

"My dad was very wise. He told me if I would go to college for one year, he would pay for crop dusting training at any school I wanted to go to," Tucker said. "He knew what he was doing. I had so much fun in college I changed my career to becoming a pharmacist."

Now, nearly 33 years later, Tucker doesn't regret his decision. He has seen a lot of changes in the business since he graduated in 1975 and went to work in one of his father's pharmacies.

"I've seen it change from typewriters and more mixing of drugs to a whole different era. When I first started out it was an all cash business. Now, 95 percent of the business is insurance billing electronically," Tucker said.

After working for his father in Fallon for a while, the elder Tucker had him open a business in Fernley that he later bought from his father and continues to operate today.

"That was in 1981," Tucker said. "... We went from mixing drugs by hand to having one of the few robots in western Nevada to fill prescriptions."

Tucker, who remains a Fallon resident, commutes to Fernley five days a week.

"I opened a new store in Fallon, but decided I really loved the people in Fernley so I sold the one there and continued driving to Fernley," Tucker said.

"For 10 years we were the only pharmacy in Fernley then Scolari's opened." Now, the new Wal-Mart joins the chain of competition.

But Tucker doesn't seem concerned. He maintains two pharmacists, three technicians and four clerks and expects to add his son-in-law as a third pharmacist in June.

"We focus on customer service,"he said. "We try not to keep a customer waiting."

Tucker was one of the first to get computerize a pharmacy in the mid '80s. He has upgraded and added new technology through the years.

Tucker's robot is one of only five in western Nevada.

"It makes it so accurate. It counts, labels, puts lids on and sorts the prescriptions in alpha order," Tucker said. "It never pulls the wrong drug."

With the changes that have come about during the years to diminish the demand for crop dusters, Tucker isn't sorry he changed his career path.


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