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Yeager’s Pharmacy with Mykola Salata (Part One): Then & Now

Yeager's Pharmacy Hellertown

Devotion to the community is not a novel aspect of Yeager’s Pharmacy’s history, which dates back 70 years. Under the ownership of pharmacist Mykola ‘Myk’ Salata, the Hellertown drugstore continues to provide the kind of small-town customer service reminiscent of a bygone era.

Est. Read Time: 3 mins

The traffic outside 654 Main Street drones as I stand in line at the registers. Everything is comfortingly the way I left it: the amber rows of supplements hugged by green labels, stone mortar and pestle on the shelf, and pharmacist Mykola Salata humming to the radio as he fills prescriptions.

Yeager's Pharmacy Hellertown

Yeager’s Pharmacy is something of an institution in Hellertown, where the business has been a fixture on Main Street for generations.

Enjoying the spring afternoon, I peruse the candy selection at Yeager’s Pharmacy, a familiar fixture of Hellertown where I worked my first job out of high school. Five years ago, customers at the register would see me leaning on the counter, scribbling poems onto R x scrap paper, eating my way through a collection of Tootsie Rolls. Now, as a graduate student studying creative writing at DeSales University, I meticulously select the perfect Milky Way bar to help power me through my semester’s final exams.

During the gap year between high school and college, my job at Yeager’s helped me achieve two things: learn to spell spironolactone, and solidify my future plans. College was not an interest of mine when I began work in May of 2018, but the more I spoke with coworkers and customers, the clearer it became to me that what I truly wanted was to be a professor. When I left for college one year later, I carried with me all the support and memories of my time with the Yeager’s community.

Devotion to the community is not a novel aspect of Yeager’s history. Originally a health and beauty store located at 634 Main Street, Yeager’s became a pharmacy in 1954 after owner Lindy Bauder completed his army service and attended pharmacy school. Yeager’s relocated multiple times, briefly residing in the vacancy left by Stehley’s Men and Boys Shop before permanently settling in the former location of Verna’s Dress Shop in 1983. Helped by his wife, Isabelle Yeager Bauder, Lindy made Yeager’s into a cornerstone of the community.

Enter 1985, and with it, pharmacist Mykola J. Salata. Myk, a graduate of the former Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, knew since he was 16 years old that retail pharmacy was his calling. The only question was where he was to fulfill that calling. As fate would have it, Lindy Bauder chose to sell his pharmacy soon after Myk graduated from the college.

“It was something that came to me by chance,” Myk explains to me during a lull in customer foot traffic. “A friend of mine and a friend of Lindy’s, Mr. Jack Pavis, told me about it. And then I went to work for Lindy in 1985 with the intention that he was going to sell, and once he decided to sell then he said to me, ‘Okay, I’m ready. Let’s do it.’ I always wanted to do retail.”

The passing of ownership from Lindy to Myk marked a new era for the pharmacy, but the devotion to the community remained. When Myk officially bought Yeager’s in 1987, Lindy made sure a good rapport existed between the clientele and their new pharmacist: “Before I could even buy the store, Mr. Bauder used to quiz me when somebody walked in the door. ‘Who’s that? Who’s that? Tell me who that is’ so I knew everybody by name. Then when I bought the pharmacy, it was a smooth transition with not having to worry about anything. People knew who I was.”

And who is Myk Salata?

That was the question I set out to answer when I stopped at Yeager’s last week and found Myk behind the counter, phone to his ear and pen in hand.

Helen Behe is an MFA candidate at DeSales University, where she is studying through the program’s poetry track for a degree in creative writing and publishing. Aside from her studies, Helen enjoys gardening, boxing and rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles. She is a resident of Bethlehem.


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Helen Behe

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