Small, independent and locally-owned pharmacies are becoming a rarity with corporate giants, who sell everything under the sun, often ruling the roost.

Small, independent and locally-owned pharmacies are becoming a rarity with corporate giants, who sell everything under the sun, often ruling the roost.

But a Pickerington pharmacist is bucking the trend, and he's hoping to build on the success of a business that has been part and parcel of the Pickerington landscape for the past 25 years.

Pharmacist Nate Hux said he recently purchased Pickerington Pharmacy from longtime owner Dale Schultz because the opportunity to own his own pharmacy was too good to pass up.

"I always have been interested in independent pharmacies and thought I would be a pretty good owner," said Hux, who previously worked at Walgreens.

Hux said the passing of the torch was "the right time and right place" for both parties. Schultz was looking to retire.

The business had a quarter-century of good will established from serving Pickerington area residents, so it was an easy transition, Hux said.

"It's a pretty busy pharmacy for being a small pharmacy," he said.

"The customers absolutely love Dale. I know I have pretty big shoes to fill in that regard," Hux said.

He said he shed the security of the corporate world to focus more intently on his customers and patient care.

"I want to maintain those personal relationships," Hux said. "That's what I love about being a pharmacist."

With Pickerington Pharmacy, 641 Hill Road N., located in front of a medical complex, Hux said there is already a built-in customer base.

"It gives us some nice traffic," he said. "The bulk of the business and what we do is prescriptions."

Schultz is sticking around to help with the transition.

"It's a good situation," Hux said. "Dale is going to stay on full-time so he'll overlap with me for two months."

Schultz will then downshift to part-time. He said all the technicians and pharmacist Connie Ray will stay on board.

"I felt really comfortable Nate is the kind of guy who can take it over and provide the same type of service," Schultz said.

He said the fact that both his employees and customers like Hux is icing on the cake.

"It's an ideal situation for us," Schultz said.

Hux said Schultz's solid track record of providing the personal touch made him realize his dream is possible.

"Independent pharmacies, you can say they are a dying breed, but if Pickerington Pharmacy can succeed for 25 years with five chains right down the street, they must be doing something right," Hux said.