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Pro-life pharmacy may be first in Denver
Ben’s Bonnie Brae Drugstore has old-fashioned ambience
By John Gleason
|Photos by James Baca/DCR
Ben Lager and his wife Kathy McGovern stand outside their new business, Ben’s Bonnie Brae Drugstore, located at 2700 E. Louisiana Ave. in south Denver.
Remember the days of the old-time drugstore where not only could you get pharmaceutical needs but also a cup of coffee or an ice cream cone? Well, just such a store had its grand opening over the weekend.
Owned by married couple Ben Lager and Kathy McGovern, Ben’s Bonnie Brae Drugstore is located at 2700 E. Louisiana Ave. in Denver. Beyond the old-fashioned ambience, what also sets Ben’s apart from other drugstores is that it’s pro-life.
The pharmacy doesn’t dispense abortifacients, which include artificial birth control.
“It’s a privilege to own my own pharmacy and dispense medications I feel comfortable with,” Ben said. “And we want to help women who have a problem pregnancy by referring them to pro-life counselors and agencies.
“I’m just grateful I’m able to have a pro-life pharmacy,” he added. “There are many states where you can’t.”
According to Ben, his pharmacy may be the only pro-life one in the state.
“If there is another one in Colorado, I’ve not heard of it,” he said.\
Ben graduated from the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy in 1995 and has managed pharmacies for different companies, including Safeway. More recently he and Kathy taught at the Denver Biblical School and did mission work, which they are still involved in, in Ciudad Juarez in Mexico and in El Paso, Texas.
Kathy is a Denver native who attended St. Vincent de Paul School. She said that among her fondest memories are after-school trips to Doyle’s Drugstore for an ice cream float. Doyle’s, she noted, was located on East Louisiana Avenue, right across the street from the building in which she and Ben now operate their drugstore.
“In the 1960s, every kid from school would go to Doyle’s for a treat,” Kathy said. “When we found out there was space in the building right across the street, we knew it would be perfect.”
Ben’s features pharmaceuticals as well as many over-the-counter medications and provides free home delivery within a seven-mile radius. Transferring one’s prescription is easy, Ben said, explaining that all it takes is a phone call to him and he can take care of the rest.
In addition to medication, Ben’s also offers breakfast burritos from Little Anita’s, delicious French pastries by Trompeau, ice cream and energy drinks. The freshly-brewed coffee comes from Pablo’s in Denver and was one of the more intensely researched parts of the operation. In fact, Kathy said she and her friends spent months travelling around the city in search of the perfect coffee for the drugstore.
“I don’t believe there is any better in the city,” she asserted.
When asked about the work it took to get their business open, Ben admitted that the day-to-day challenges—everything from plumbing to painting—sometimes seemed never-ending.
“At times it was a headache,” he said with a laugh, “but here we are.”
The two hope Ben’s becomes more than just a place to stop in to fill a prescription or pick up a cold remedy. They want it to be a gathering place where people stop in to visit, have a coffee and make new friends; a place where they can talk about anything, like neighbors do.
“We want to extend our friendship to everyone in the neighborhood,” Kathy said, “and let everyone know that this is where they get first-class care; just what they’d expect from an old-fashioned pharmacy.”