The “Mom & Pop” Stores…

Today I read an interesting article about a pharmacist in Denver that decided to close up shop after 44 years. He decided that prescription drugs weren’t his business anymore, and was instead going to open a Liquor store. And the reason for the change? It comes down to one thing, profit.

The pharmacist sold his prescription files and some of his store space to the Safeway next door. Then he opened Evergreen Discount Liquors, a huge 20,000-square- foot store with an impressive selection of competitively priced spirits, wines and beers.

He stated that the drug companies just have to much control on what he can sell prescriptions for as well as big box and chain pharmacies that are invading his territory. He said the turning point was when he had to fill prescriptions for his wife, and the insurance company repeatedly wanted him to use a cheaper, more efficient mail order pharmacy to fill it, rather than his own store.

All of this just got me thinking about the “mom and pop” shops of the world and the “one on one” service that goes hand in hand with them. Whether still knowing the local pharmacist on a first name basis, or going to a family mechanic, or meeting at your neighborhood deli, the world is a changing place. Places like Wal*Mart and Target have taken the country by storm and seem to think that bigger is better, period. That’s not always the case though, and I’m of the opinion that sometimes a little better personal customer service is worth the few extra bucks over convenience.

Independent family pharmacies have been dwindling since the era of managed health care which began almost twenty years ago. And the pharmacy is just one example of all those “mom and pop” shops that are dwindling. And if you look at new cities and towns that are growing at record paces, it’s all box stores going in.

Here in my neighborhood, they are few and far in between, but we do make an effort to hunt them out. We visit the local pizza joint at least once a week and try to buy as much farm fresh fruit and vegatables from local growers every weekend that we can. They are still out there, you just have to spend a little time hunting them down and making the effort to actually get there.

Anyway, back to the pharmacists. He says quote,

It’s a lot more enjoyable to sell the liquor. The people come in, they’re not sick, and they don’t question the prices as much. People feel better when they drink too and in the end, they are all drugs.

Does he have a point? At least he stayed in the “mom and pop” business, and hopefully you can too!

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07 2007

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