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Dusty Crabtree and Lindsey Compton-Crabtree look forward to serving the community in Portola as current owner Mike Kibble prepares to pass the mortar and pestle and the keys to the Portola Village Pharmacy to the couple in May 2020. Photo submitted by Lindsey Compton-Crabtree

What is the future of Portola Village Pharmacy?

The Portola Village Pharmacy, an institution in the city of Portola, has been owned and operated by Mike and Karen Kibble since March 2010, with the store itself having a long history that stretches back to the 1940s.

As time marches ever onward, torches must, at some point, be handed off, or in this case, the mortar and pestle. The Kibbles are passing the pharmaceutical care of the community on to one of Portola’s own, Lindsey Crabtree-Compton, and her husband, Dustin Crabtree, in the months to come.

Lindsey was born and raised in Portola, going through school in the city up through her graduation from Portola Junior/Senior High School in 2012. “I’m very attached to Portola,” Lindsey said. “I feel like I got so much support growing up in our small community, and I truly feel that the community opened doors for me.”

Lindsey went to high school with the Kibbles’ children and began to work with Mike and Karen Kibble at the Portola Village Pharmacy in 2012, where Lindsey explained that the Kibbles became her mentors, fostering her interest and ability in becoming a pharmacist herself.

From Portola, Lindsey attended Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, to earn her bachelor’s in biochemistry, where she met her now husband, Dustin, or Dusty, Crabtree. “I played volleyball and he played football, and we were both on the pre-pharmacy track,” Lindsey said.

Dustin Crabtree grew up in Sherwood, Oregon, and was well on his way toward his ultimate goal of earning a dual degree of MBA and Doctor of Pharmacy at Willamette University when he and Lindsey met.

The couple completed their work at Willamette University and moved on to attend the Skaggs School of Pharmacy at the University of Montana, after falling in love with the city of Missoula. “We started in Montana in 2016, and just finished coursework in May, so now we are completing our year of clinicals, or rotations, where we travel to various rural sites around Missoula,” Lindsey explained.

The couple chose to complete am IPHARM program at Skaggs school of Pharmacy, which is a clinical training initiative in geriatric health screening for the Montana Geriatric Education Center (MTGEC), a federally funded project. MTGEC’s financial support allows IPHARM to continue to provide wellness testing for people throughout Montana, with Lindsey and Dustin focused on rural areas.

“We have had a lot of training that we will be able to take directly to Portola to help the community, and we hope that it will be an asset to the community,” Dustin commented.

Lindsey completed a rotation at Portola Village Pharmacy in June of this year, and Dustin completed a rotation with Lindsey at Renown in Reno in June, and both will be fully licensed upon graduation May 9, 2020.

“I fell in love with Portola when I first visited, and thought, where has this place been?” Dustin said, laughing. “I love that Portola has so much to offer in the way of outdoor activities such as hiking, because we both love being active.”

Lindsey looks forward to returning home to stay, saying, “I’ve gotten to see a lot of different kinds of pharmacies, but the Portola Village Pharmacy is so unique. It’s more intimate, and Mike makes a difference in people’s lives every day. I have such a love for Portola and can’t wait to do the same thing for the community.”

“I knew that I wanted to be a pharmacist since high school,” Lindsey said smiling. “The idea to buy the pharmacy came about six years ago, when Mike asked me what my long-term goals were. In the last year or so, our conversations have been more geared toward logistics, and the timing of everything is lining up perfectly!”

The buy-out won’t be immediate, says the duo, and both plan to move back to Portola permanently in mid-May of next year. “We anticipate that it will be a smooth gradual transition that could take up to a year,” Lindsey said.

The couple has plans in place to ensure that there won’t be any gaps in prescription care and coverage, and both look forward to working with Mike Kibble during the transition period.

Kibble said, “These two are two of the finest professionals that I’ve met, and the community would be well served to attract this couple to carry on a tradition of entrepreneurship and patient safety in the setting I’ve created.”

Lindsey carried that thought on, saying, “There are two of us, and we’re ready to expand what Mike created! We are both immunization certified; we know that the clinic is not always convenient, and we want to work on the betterment of community health in that way.”

Dustin is also trained in managing an INR clinic, which leaves room for a potential collaborative practice agreement, according to the couple.

Both are also trained in specialized diabetes care and want to become more engaged in optimizing patient lifestyle management and medication.

“We really want to serve as advocates for the patient and ensure that they are the leader in their own healthcare,” Lindsey added. “We want to foster any questions and if needed, advocate to create changes with their doctor.”

Both are also trained extensively in asthma management. “All of these medications come with specific devices, and a one-on-one or group training on how to properly use an inhaler would be very beneficial in the future,” Dustin said.

The couple hopes to give the community someone to see in a more casual setting, and also hopes to enter into collaborative practice agreements with Eastern Plumas Health Care (EPHC) in the future.

“We would like to be able to start handling things like flu immunizations in the first year or two,” Lindsey explained. “Another thing is that in the state of California, pharmacies can prescribe and fill birth control on site; it’s all about accessibility, education, and training.”

The couple feels that this is a unique, special opportunity. “We’ve got so much of our youth leaving rural communities,” Lindsey said. “A lot of the young people from Portola left, got an education, and are now starting to come back to make our community better.”

Dustin added, “It really does feel like there is a youth revival in the area, and it’s been cool to see a lot of our friends coming back and putting down roots.”

Dustin also noted that the couple plans to support the community as former athletes, and they look forward to fostering strong community relationships.

Long-term goals include support of local independent business through sale of local items in the front end of the store, in addition to the ongoing goal of providing the community with the best care possible.

Lindsey said, “This feels like a generational pass-down, and we will be keeping Portola Village Pharmacy independently owned so that we have more freedom to help our patients, unlike corporate pharmacies. It’s pretty rare, and very beneficial for our patients!”

Kibble closed, “I think it is important with any ownership transfer to evaluate and learn what might be improved upon with the current level of health care. I see Lindsey and Dustin taking the pharmacy to the next level of care, with plans for INR testing and vaccination clinics, and to them both I say this; hard work, dedication and a big smile leads to success and happiness in delivering pharmacy services to your local community.”

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