Independent pharmacies backbone of community wellness

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By Morgan Bryce
Staff Reporter

Opelika’s four independent pharmacies: Adams, Bubba’s, Medical Arts and Thomas, all have a common goal; providing quality, affordable health care to their customers in a family-like way.
The history of those pharmacies dates to 1956, when Adams Pharmacy, formerly known as Clark’s Parkway Pharmacy, was founded. Thomas Pharmacy was started in 1957, Medical Arts in 1968, and Bubba’s in 1976.
In 2017, the businesses are thriving, and play a vital role in the health care of Opelika and its citizens. All four pharmacy owners embody a solid customer service policy and affordable health-care philosophy, but each have a unique approach to success that set themselves apart.
Dennis Miller of Medical Arts Pharmacy, who has been involved in the operation since its beginning, said the continuity of his staff has helped create a loyal customer base for the business.
“We have the same people here every day, and every time you come in, it’s the same people behind the counter. That helps us know the customers and know their conditions,” Miller said.
June Adams of Adams Pharmacy said her business has led the way in compounding, the process of having hard-to-find drug or prescriptions made in-house instead of outsourcing them.
“We started doing that 20 years ago and were the first to do it, and we’ve been able to grow that pretty well … we also do sterile (compounding) and we’re the only one in the area that does that. That could be anything from injectables to eye drops to ear drops, or anything that has to be sterile,” Adams said.
Roger Burnett of Thomas Pharmacy said his business relies on its success from word-of-mouth advertising, and that their customer base is made up of families who have been having prescriptions filled by the business since it began 58 years ago.
“Unlike chain pharmacies, we have always pursued the idea of taking care of the same family long term. We’re not necessarily looking for the patient that gets one prescription one time and you don’t see them again, because that really doesn’t allow you to do most of the things we do to help take care of people,” Burnett said. “If you see the same doctor and pharmacist long term, a lot of these little things that would jump out at you may not be appropriate for a patient that you wouldn’t notice if you didn’t actually know the patient and their history.”
Jeff Jerkins of Bubba’s Pharmacy believes in all of these ideals, saying that he and the other local pharmacies desire to not only serve the community, but give back to it.
“If you want to sell a yearbook ad, or sponsor a Little League team, if you got somebody who doesn’t have enough money to necessarily get their money today, or you have somebody that has a charity situation … we, just like a lot of other independent pharmacies want to help,” Jerkins said. “I bought turkeys for people at Thanksgiving and helped give people food at Christmastime … I don’t say these things to toot our horn, but I think it shows there we’re invested in the area and we want to see it do well. This is where we live, and where we send our kids to school, and it’s important to all of us.”
Opelika’s four independent pharmacies can be found online or by the addresses and phone numbers listed below:
Adams Pharmacy – 1961 1st Ave. (334) 745-3881
Bubba’s Pharmacy – 512 2nd Ave. (334) 749-3426
Medical Arts Pharmacy – 121 N. 20th St. (334) 745-5756
Thomas Pharmacy – 1713 Pepperell Parkway (334) 745-3632.

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