Vernak Farms owner and pharmacist Charlene Vernak prepares a psoriasis cream using an ointment mill. The tall machine behind her arm is an electric mixer, which often takes the place of the old-fashioned mortar and pestle.
Photo by Jason Emerson.
Skaneateles A few miles outside of Skaneateles, down Route 41 towards Borodino, there’s a modern store with an old-fashioned twist: a country general store that offers great food, various groceries and gift items, and a specialty pharmacy that is akin to an old-time apothecary shop where drug prescriptions can be made to order on site.
This latter service is one of the only compounding pharmacies in the Syracuse area, and its personal customer service, as well as its ability to make prescriptions for doctors and patients in compounds, amounts and forms that may be unavailable elsewhere, has proven to be a valuable resource to the community it serves and the business owners who offer it.
Vernak Farms Country Store and Pharmacy, at 1889 E. Lake Road in Skaneateles, is a family-owned business that opened in 2006 with a few grocery items and an ice cream counter. Owners Chris and Charlene Vernak came to the Spafford-Skaneateles area because they not only wanted to raise their kids in a great town and open a business, but to be with their kids while they ran the business.
Through the years, Vernak Farms has expanded to offer deli sandwiches, then panninis, then fried foods and pizza.
“We are best known for our pizza and subs,” said owner Chris Vernak, who also functions as store manager. “Friday nights are crazy, especially in the summer.”
In addition to the growth of the deli and food offerings, the store has increased its grocery items to include everyday needs and necessities, especially camp items for summer visitors, as well as local and gift items such as homemade soaps, herbs and spices and candles.
“To me a real country store supplies a mish-mash of everything,” said owner Charlene Vernak, a trained and licensed pharmacist who runs the on-site pharmacy. “We’re different. I don’t think we fit the typical retail model. Our store has evolved a lot, and that’s the one thing we hear the most from our customers.”