Celebrating 90 years of care in The Cov
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth of 5 articles naming the winners of the 2023 Authenti-CITY awards given by the City of Covington at a ceremony last Thursday to mark the National Economic Development Week. More about the awards can be found at the bottom of this article.
COVINGTON, Ky. – Back in 1933, Elmer Francis Blank, Sr. came up with a business model that would stand the test of time: a family-owned pharmacy that provides excellent customer care with – and this is key – “a big heart.”
Celebrating its 90th year, Blank’s Pharmacy at 272 W. Pike St. has used that philosophy as it’s cared for folks in The Cov, filling and refilling their prescriptions, and providing vitamins, vaccinations, immunizations, and more. It’s one of the oldest independently operated drugstores in Covington, proving every day that the difference between a big-box chain pharmacy and independent, family-owned pharmacy is more than square footage.
Karen Blank Arlinghaus, who’s a pharmacist and has worked in the pharmacy off and on her entire life – and works there now with her brother, Greg, who owns the business – said that what’s special about Blank’s is how they can make a difference in people’s lives.
“Grandpa set the standard, my Dad followed that standard, and now Greg does the same thing, and it’s all done with a big heart,” Arlinghaus said. “Through medication management and helping customers as much as we can, they become like family to us, and we take care of them like family.”
Arlinghaus grew up in Fort Mitchell but said Covington always felt like home. She has fond memories that go beyond working in the pharmacy: For her, there was family, traditions, and friends.
“We brought Dad’s dinner here to the pharmacy at 5:15 every night,” said Arlinghaus, whose father, Francis Blank, owned the pharmacy after her grandfather. “My mom was raised in Covington, her parents lived on York Street. So, we knew all the customers and neighbors growing up.”
Arlinghaus said she loves watching Covington grow and attract “more great people” each year, and she’s happy that Blank’s Pharmacy is around to continue its care of those in The Cov.
“I can’t imagine not having independent pharmacies around, because of how we care for our customers,” she said. “I love that there’s this older generation and new generation mixing. It’s our 90th anniversary here and we’re really grateful that we’ve been able to be here for people.”
About the awards: The first-annual Authenti-CITY awards were unveiled by Covington’s fun and irreverent Economic Development team in 2021 to celebrate National Economic Development Week in an off-the-wall way.
There were no rules and no criteria – just staffers getting together after hours (maybe over a few drinks, maybe not) and debating fiercely about what businesses, places, events, people and organizations most “kept it real” in The Cov. The fervor had to do with this: Narrowing down the massive list (because, you know, Covington is such a cool place).
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