Local pharmacy works to succeed in industry where independent pharmacies are closing all over the U.S.
Adapting to change and customer service are credited for staying open
A study published in the Journal of American Medical Association, found that 1 in 8 pharmacies closed from 2009 to 2015, with independent pharmacies being 3 times more likely to close than a chain pharmacy. They credit the report to researchers at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
“I wish it didn’t happen, because again you lose service when you go with the bigger places and it’s not just in pharmacies its happening in business in general the smaller places are getting swallowed up” said Joplin resident, Charlie McGrew.
McGrew has stuck with The Medicine Shoppe in Joplin for more than 20 year, even staying with It when his regular pharmacists that worked there changed.
“It’s part of the community, their a member of the Joplin community and these other places are not.”
The Gates family, though newer customers to the pharmacy, switched over from a larger corporation to The Medicine Shoppe.
“There’s no comparisons, they don’t care, they just want your bucks and they’re down the road, they don’t care about you, here it’s like coming home, it’s like family.”
But it’s still a constant battle to stay relevant against corporate pharmacies.
In 2012 Walgreens bought out 4 drugstores in the Joplin area. In January, Pronto Pharmacy in Joplin and Webb City was bought out by Walgreens and closed. The Medicine Shoppe in Webb City was also bought out by Walgreens and closed.
“These small towns like we have here in rural America, if you still don’t have your mom and pop stores you can’t come into a place and feel at home” said Medicine Shoppe Pharmacist, Joni Forbus.
The Medicine Shoppe refuses to fall into that group. They credit their service for keeping them going for 40 years.
“I want to talk to my patients, I want to get to know my patients, I want to come out from around the counter and hug them through their sorrows and their triumphs, if they tested free from cancer or if a family member has died. Being at a bigger pharmacy with corporate regulations you don’t get that opportunity” added Forbus.
They also say they have the ability to change and adapt as necessary.
“If an independent pharmacy can’t make future plans and stay up with a very digital world they will fail” said Marketing Director, Libby Ross.
With new programs and perks, like medication compliance packaging and prescription delivery services, they’re hoping it will help them stay in service for years to come.
“Keep independents in the world of eCommerce” added Ross.
For customers like McGrew, it’s the home feeling as well, and the service they are able to provide.
“The good service, the personalized touch and when you’re dealing with something like medicine, that’s really important.”
Launching early this year will be a new online prescription delivery service called Drugstore 2 Door. The Medicine Shoppe says they will be one of the first pharmacies in Missouri to offer this service.