Best of KELOLAND On The Road #2 – The Power of the Purple Ticket

On The Road

Main streets all across KELOLAND are so important for any town. We’re in Miller, South Dakota today to learn the story about a druggist, an old-time drug store, and the power of the purple ticket that makes a difference in this community in ways you cannot imagine.

“Lifelong Miller boy come home.  What were you thinking?” asked KELOLAND On The Road host, Mike Huether.

“Well, actually you know, we were taught when we were younger, that when you, when you’re in Miller, it’s not as many opportunities possibly as other places.  So, it was always, go get an education and go see what you can do,” answered Travis Anderberg.

For most college graduates of small towns, that type of talk eventually leads them to the big city. Thank goodness for the people of Miller, South Dakota, Druggist Travis Anderberg thought otherwise. “You can also go right back and help your small communities in South Dakota.  I think it’s a… it’s a real thing that we’re missing in South Dakota. We don’t need to make all the bigger places better. We need to come back and make our small-town South Dakota’s better,” said Anderberg.

Miller Main Street business owner and past “On Hand Economic Development” Director Tammy Caffee is among countless folks that are thankful for Druggist Travis, his family, and their investment.  “It really made us happy to see Travis and his family come back to Miller, and to buy the local drugstore.  We were very concerned about those things when, when there’s a business for sale.  We always wonder, well, who’s going to step up, who’s going to take care of that business and Travis did with Rexall,” said Tammy Caffee.

Lifelong Miller resident and former Miller business owner, Harriet Kopplin, knows full well that druggist Travis’ impact goes far beyond the drugstore counter. “He has a lovely family, has four children, very, very polite.  Nice children, he’s a big worker in church.  He helps little kids with football and baseball and all the little activities.  He’s marvelous for Miller.  He grew up in Miller, also,” said Harriet Kopplin.

He supports the Miller area in all kinds of ways and his positive outlook is a driving force. “You are a coach. You’re a mentor. You’ve got four kids. Druggist Travis, you’re married. You own, or are a partner in, a drug store… you know everybody’s ailment in town, and yet you’re still giving back in unique ways.  I mean, where does that energy come from?” asked Huether. “Everybody in a small community… that is just how it works. You have to and… and you can either complain about things or you can take charge of it and change it,” answered Travis Anderberg.

The stories I heard of the incredible care that druggist Travis doles out were told all over town. It all about care. “I think that pharmaceutical care is something that was really pushed when I was in school.  And I think that’s more than… more than just worrying about getting the right pill and the right model to the right patient.  I think it’s the whole patient care thing you know, you don’t have to be the smartest guy to graduate from school to care about somebody,” said Anderberg.

“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate… Travis is really great because not only just customer service, but his, his medical opinion on, you know, ‘Remember to do this when you’re taking your medicine.’ ‘Now remember this, it’s going to react this way.’  It’s like seeing another doctor. It’s like having another medical opinion coming your way,” said Tammy Caffee. “And that’s important in a small town,” said Huether. “It’s huge.  It’s… it’s wonderful that Travis is there keeping track of us.  He’s overlooking and making sure that we’re doing what we need to, to help our bodies get better,” said Caffee.

The Miller community is like family to druggist Travis and Tammy is one of many family members he cares for. “Every time I’m in there I’m in needing medicine. I’m vulnerable.  I’m, maybe at my lowest point, and Travis is there keeping me calm and reassuring me that this is going to make you feel better,” said Caffee. “He’s there to guide you and to help you get through that and that little card that we get is a reminder that they’re there.  ‘Get well soon.  Here’s a little treat for going through misery.’, said Caffee.

That little card is a little purple ticket you receive when you fill a prescription.  It is good for a free ice cream cone, coffee, hot chocolate or soda pop.  Its impact is real. “I’m a retired elementary principal.  I know my teachers use them as incentives in the classroom.  Quick little gift to give a student who they’re very proud of,” said Caffee. “I have a friend that I pick up for bridge every time.  So, every once in a while she comes out with a stack of tickets for me as a thank you for picking her up,” said Harriet Kopplin.  “That to me is the power of the purple ticket.  It’s that… it’s more than just the free cup of coffee, or the free cherry nut ice cream cone, or the free cup of hot chocolate.  It’s the way that you can be a good steward, or thank somebody, or incent somebody…  I mean, it’s happened to you.,” said Huether. “It happens,” agreed Kopplin.

Before I left Miller, I had a burning question to ask. “Come on, druggist Travis, why can’t I collect like five of these tickets and get a great malt at the Miller Drug?” asked Huether. “And it’s not the first time, I heard that,” Anderberg remarked. “Once you bend a rule… once the door goes from there,” said Anderberg. “And look at this young Miller boy, still has got those old-time lessons in life. I love it,” said Huether.

But you know me, I still had to try: “So, can I get… can I use two tickets to get two scoops?” asked Huether. “Yes, you can,” answered Harriet Kopplin. “Oh, I can okay, very good.  But I can’t use four tickets to get a malt?” asked Huether. “Oh no, no, no, no. Listen, they’re giving away this ice cream as it is,” answered Harriet Kopplin.  “I get it Harriet.  I get it.  And the people of KELOLAND, I know they get it too.  (laughter),” said Huether.

If you’re wondering what the number one ice cream cone is among Miller’s more than 13-hundred residents? It’s Pecan Praline. Though folks tell me chocolate is most popular with the younger crowd.

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