On Jan. 2, a local business, the Rx Discount Pharmacy, celebrated the organization’s 25 year anniversary of being in their location on Morton Boulevard. In June, the company will celebrate 28 years of being in Hazard. Representatives from the business said they hope to have some types of giveaways and sign-ups to show customer appreciation throughout the next couple weeks, possibly going into first week of February.
Richard Slone, a pharmacist at the business, said he believes that the fact they are an independently owned pharmacy coupled with the quality of care and services offered sets them apart from other pharmacies in the area. “We keep our money here,” Slone said.
By doing this, Slone said, their pharmacy is supporting other local businesses and the community as a whole.
Slone said the pharmacy has a full-time delivery person, provides free blood pressure checks and blood sugar tests and offers delivery services as far as Buckhorn, Hindman and into Leslie and Letcher counties. Additionally, Slone said, their business was one of the first pharmacies to have a drive-thru window in Perry County, was the first retail pharmacy to give immunizations and was one of the first pharmacies to have blister-packs.
“Healthcare is what we do,” said Slone. “We just try to serve our patients.”
Another quality that Slone believes sets the pharmacy apart and has kept them in business is that, throughout the years, many employees said they have stayed there long-term making them more like family than coworkers.
“It is like a family,” said Slone, adding many employees have been there for more than 10 years and some even more than 20 years. “Each one of us has a function that complements the other person.
“Most of us who have been here 15 or more years, we’re here because, number one, we have to have a job. I’m going on 26 years and I’m still here somewhat because of loyalty, because he’s always kept me a job, but also because it is a clean job, it’s a good atmosphere and I’m raising a family. I’ve raised my family here in Perry County and this job has helped me do that,” said Heather Daniels, a coworker of Slone’s.
“You get to care about your people,” said Slone, explaining that this connection exists not only with coworkers, but customers as well.
One example of this, Slone said, is that just the other day, he and a coworker went to the funeral of a patient who had not been to the pharmacy in approximately five years.
“When you’ve been here this long you can argue like family,” said Louise Johnson, an employee at the pharmacy, agreeing that many of the employees and customers have become close over the years.
Sometimes, Johnson said, she has even went to a corner and prayed with customers before.
“You just get to know them and they’re like family,” she said. “It’s been an experience, and one that I’ve loved. I’ve loved every day of it. I really love the job, it’s rewarding,” she said, mentioning that they get to see people get the help they need and grow up.
“That’s the difference,” said Slone, stating that the connections they form with customers is one that generally only comes with independent pharmacies. “It takes a special type of person to do this kind of work. It is a hard job, its not easy. We work hard and we treat our people well.”
Slone said he has worked in a pharmacy setting since he was 16 years old, and has seen many things in his career. “This is all I’ve ever done, it’s all I’ve ever known,” he said. “I’ve seen some really good times and I’ve seen the very bad times. We’ve been in the same location longer than any other pharmacy under the same ownership and same name. We’ve been here more than 20 years. We’ve got some very loyal customers and patients.”
Many of the Rx Discount Pharmacy employees said they appreciate the business and support provided by their loyal customers and hope that in the future, talk of revitalization and supporting local business will spark an interest in younger generations to consider using independent pharmacies such as their business.
“We have plans to be here hopefully another 25 years,” Daniels said.