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Independent Pharmacy Thrives with Personal Service

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Morgan Pharmacy has an old-time feel, with a display of old prescription bottles and the original shelves from when the store opened in nineteen twelve Pharmacist Barry Deutschman bought the store twenty years ago. "During the time period between then, and the time we stopped carrying tobacco, you can see people would rest their cigarettes on counter here." The pharmacy is located in a residential neighborhood of Washington and most people hear about it through word of mouth. "Once somebody comes in here who’s has never been here, they love the place and they want to come back." Sandra Sugar has been coming to Morgan's for years. "This has nostalgia just coming in here." Toni Stephens feels a special bond. "The people who work here are helpful and more like family." Some customers enjoy the new products in old fashioned packaging. "It smells so good." Others, Mr. Deutshman says, like items that are old fashioned. "Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap." After prescriptions, chocolate is the big seller. "People who take medicine occasionally need a treat and they really want good candy." The number of independent pharmacies has been dwindling. The National Community Pharmacists Association says about twenty thousand exist today -- down by half from twenty years ago. They are being replaced by drug and supermarket chains, which often open up in the same neighborhood, and offer a wider selection of items. But customer Abby Griffin says the chain stores are impersonal, so she comes to Morgan's. "It's the friendliness, and you feel you trust the pharmacist, and you trust their advice." Independents like Morgan Pharmacy often provide services the chain stores do not, such as compounding certain drugs and creams by hand and delivering prescriptions. Mr. Deutshman says the pharmacists also take the time to talk with customers and get to know them. "So it's more than just being the neighborhood pharmacist, it's being part of the community. You don't get treated like this in chain drug stores." Despite the competition, Mr. Deutshman hopes Morgan Pharmacy will be around for a long time. "I have the most wonderful clientele in the world. I have no plans on retiring. Our plan is to hang in there as long as we can."

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 24 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: VOA
Director: VOA
Views: 65
Posted by: vecttra on Jun 30, 2012

One hundred years ago, Morgan Pharmacy opened its doors in Washington. Despite economic ups and downs, the small, family-owned pharmacy has thrived. But how is it staying in business today with a larger drugstore just down the street? In the second part of our three part series on the survival of small businesses in the United States, VOA's Deborah Block tells us what Morgan Pharmacy is doing to keep its doors open.

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