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Green Bay’s Streu’s Pharmacy undergoes leadership change

Long-time employee Nicole Schreiner takes over CEO duties from Jeff Kirchner

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June 16, 2023

GREEN BAY – Twenty-five years ago, Nicole Schreiner, a newly minted Doctor of Pharmacy, started her career with Streu’s Pharmacy in downtown Green Bay.

Having done rotations at Streu’s, after graduating from the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy, she landed a job there and has been there ever since.

“I liked them, and they liked me,” she said. “The rest is history.”

Schreiner worked under the helm of Jeff Kirchner and Jane Kozicki, siblings who are part of the family that has owned and operated Streu’s Pharmacy for nearly 70 years.

The Kirchner family got its start with Streu’s in 1960 when pharmacist Lee Kirchner (Jeff Kirchner and Jane Kozicki’s father), partnered with Dick Streu, who founded the pharmacy in 1954. 

Lee Kirchner stepped into the top role after Streu, and then passed the title to his son Jeff 25 years ago. 

“Now, as (Jeff) looks to create his retirement plan, is where I come into play,” Schreiner said.

The move comes as part of the next steps in what Streu’s describes as a “thoughtful and proactive” succession plan.

As Jeff moves toward retirement, he’ll stay on as vice president.

As CEO, Schreiner is taking the reins in leading strategic business efforts, while continuing to work alongside staff in the pharmacy and advocate for industry improvements.

She said she is still getting her footing, ensuring she has a grip on all of her new responsibilities.

“Not only internal needs – meeting with individual employees, the daily running of operations – but also the external needs: networking, touching bases with clients and customers, especially through our long-term care aspects of things,” she said.

Schreiner said helping patients understand their medications and feel better about their overall health, when she can positively impact people’s lives, is her favorite thing about the job – whether it be a patient or a member of her pharmacy team.

“I really like helping them understand their medications so they take them correctly or even take them at all,” she said. “I like (helping them achieve) positive health outcomes and knowing they are doing the right thing that is going to help make them feel better and take care of themselves.”

Schreiner has previously served as chair of the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin’s Community Pharmacy Advisory Committee and Long-Term Care board.

She also volunteers for a small nonprofit called Medical Aid to Northern Uganda, serving as a board member and participating in medical mission trips. 

More than meets the eye
Streu’s Pharmacy Bay Natural employs nearly 100 people, including 11 pharmacists. 

Streu’s has two pharmacies within the walls of one building.

“The front end of our pharmacy is our community pharmacy, which is synonymous with the word retail pharmacy, similar to the chains like Walgreens and CVS,” Schreiner said. “Then you have the long-term care or closed-door pharmacy, meaning we are not open to the public.”

// Schreiner, left, has worked at Streu’s Pharmacy for the past 25 years. Submitted Photo

The closed-door pharmacy, she said, focuses on the needs of the more than 2,000 patients in various long-term care facilities throughout the area. 

“We have about a 60-mile radius of facilities we serve,” she said.

Those clients, Schreiner said, range from adult family care homes that have just a few residents to community-based residential facilities (CBRFs) and senior apartment-type facilities that could have hundreds of patients.

Using technology that Schreiner described as “a robot that cost more than some people’s cars or even first houses,” Streu’s pharmacists apportion medications in per-dose compliance packaging for those long-term care facilities throughout the greater Green Bay area.
Broad reach
Schreiner said Streu’s is one of the last, if not the last remaining, independently-owned pharmacies in Green Bay.

She said it offers many things its mass-market pharmacy chain counterparts do not have – including nurses.

Kozicki, a registered nurse, joined the business in 1996, bringing a community health perspective to the business, through classes, vaccine clinics and patient medicine checks.

She also serves as the quality assurance director for pharmacy operations and leads a team of two full-time RNs at the pharmacy.

“I think we are special because we have that nursing perspective,” Schreiner said.

She said every season, Streu’s administers around 3,000 flu vaccinations.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Schreiner said the nursing team gave more than 10,000 vaccines.

In addition, the pharmacy offers shingles and other vaccines at the long-term care facilities the pharmacy works with or onsite at Streu’s.

Schreiner said Streu’s also carries medical supplies covering a range of areas, including: urology and ostomy products; braces, orthotics and athletic compression products; post-mastectomy bras, breast forms, lymphedema sleeves and post-mastectomy swimsuits; and innovations to make the bathroom easier to navigate, such as shower chairs, shower transfer benches and raised toilet seats.
An evolution
In 1998, Streu’s was located near Webster Avenue and Main Street and had not yet bloomed into Streu’s Pharmacy Bay Natural.

A few years after Schreiner came on board, she said Streu’s purchased the Bay Natural health supplement store, and in 2005, merged the two businesses into the location at 635 Main St., where it resides today.

“Part of that thought process for us was we felt like there was a lot that goes into overall health and wellness, and it’s not just about when you need a prescription for traditional medicine,” Schreiner said. “For optimal health and wellness, there are other aspects to that, which the Bay Natural part tapped into, to help promote the complete person.”

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