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Yeager’s Pharmacy with Mykola Salata (Part 2): Then & Now

Myk Salata

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

Continued from Yeager’s Pharmacy with Mykola Salata (Part 1)

As the pharmacist at Yeager’s for more than 30 years, Myk represents all that his business offers the community: reliable service, good Milky Ways, and most importantly, a friendly face.

Myk Salata

Mykola “Myk” Salata is the pharmacist-owner of Yeager’s Pharmacy on Main Street in Hellertown. (Credit: Helen Behe)

Though his family comes from the Ukraine and his childhood was spent in Connecticut, Myk inherited a lifelong community when he moved to the Lehigh Valley to buy Yeager’s. Throughout the years, Myk has seen many Yeager’s employees come and go, including 20 pharmacy school students from University of Pittsburgh and his own two sons. The different faces behind the counter comprise some of Myk’s fondest memories of the pharmacy: “We’ve had a lot of good times here with the different people who have rotated through, such as yourself. Now I bring our dog Lexi here on Fridays, and she has her own entourage of people that come here just to see her. It’s something different that’s been enjoyable. Hellertown has always been very good.”

As Hellertown grows, and the faces at Yeager’s come and go, the pharmacy itself adapts to the changing times. When Myk bought Yeager’s, tobacco and newspapers were a staple of their merchandise. “We used to be open on a Sunday from 9:00 to 12:00, and we sold newspapers and tobacco,” he recalled. “The tobacco we didn’t get rid of until 1989. Eventually we stopped selling the newspapers too, because we started closing on Sundays.”

For Myk, the mercurial aspect of the business is part of its appeal. Reminiscing on his time at Yeager’s, Myk relates to me the unexpected adventures of a pharmacist–closing shop just in time to beat a surprise snowstorm, or finding someone to cover shifts when unforeseen occasions arise.

Now laughing about the incident (although at the time it was far less humorous), Myk recounts the day he left Yeager’s to rescue his aunt, who had just acquired a visa to leave Ukraine, from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

“My mother was at home and got a phone call from her sister. She says ‘Marika (which is my mother’s name, Mary), I’m here.’ And my mother said, ‘Here where?’ And she says, ‘I’m here at the airport in New York. Can you come get me?’ So, at 3:30 in the afternoon, I got somebody to come in to cover for me at work. I got my sons and my wife and my mother and we drove to Kennedy Airport to go find my aunt. We roamed around the airport, and it was seven o’clock at night before we found her, with this stack of clothing and bags. And we had actually gotten a limousine to take us to the airport, because we didn’t know how we were going to transport everything. As we’re coming home then my boys are feeling hungry, so we take the limo through the drive-thru at a McDonald’s to get dinner. And my aunt had never, never had French fries before! That was one crazy, memorable day, just because of that phone call.”

Myk’s story draws laughs from the employees, and I thank him for his time as I pack up my phone and candy wrapper.

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. Then & Now is published twice per month on Saucon Source.


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Helen Behe

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