Tim Mitchell says he plans to open Mitchell's Downtown Drug Store in early January. It will be located at 115 E. Hickory Street, next door to the future Prime Care Family Medicine, though the two businesses are not financially connected [see related story].
Mitchell, who currently owns Family Pharmacy, Country Care Pharmacy and Advantage Health Care, all in Neosho, said Mitchell's Downtown Drug Store will offer residents in and around the Square a convenient place to get their prescriptions since the recent closure of Jon's Pharmacy. That pharmacy, in business since 1968, was shut down by national drug chain Walgreens, following an acquisition of stores from Jon's corporate owner, USA Drug.
Mitchell said that he is prohibited from putting a pharmacy in at the former Jon's location should he try to buy or lease the building, so he made the decision to open one up around the corner instead. He said Mitchell's Downtown Drug Store would fill the void left by the closure of Jon's Pharmacy, and just makes good business sense.
"I feel it's unfortunate for the people of downtown that that pharmacy was closed," Mitchell said of Jon's Pharmacy. "I felt like business-wise this was a good opportunity and also something to help our community to be able to stay alive. It's no secret that when you drive around you see a lot of empty buildings around the Square, up around the area where Jon's used to be, and there are even more now. My goal is to get that business up… I'm not trying to be a hero. I just think there is a good business opportunity and an opportunity for our community to say 'hey, we want an independent, downtown pharmacy.' I've heard that, so that's what I have decided to do."
As with Mitchell's other pharmacies, his downtown location will offer free delivery for those home bound patients. Mitchell said he also wants to offer curbside pickup, though he is still looking into it.
Besides prescription medicine, Mitchell's Downtown Drug Store will also offer some front end, over the counter products, such as gift items and durable medical equipment.
"I want to do it right, so we're being very conscientious about how we're putting things in and trying to make sure it's customer-friendly, and pharmacist-friendly, and friendly for the physicians," Mitchell said.
Also at the downtown drugstore, Mitchell will offer medication management therapy sessions where he will sit down with patients and go through their medication profiles and make suggestions in cooperation with their physician to optimize their medication regimen.
He will also offer immunizations, such as flu and pneumonia shots, as well as vaccinate for things like tetanus, diphtheria, meningitis and whooping cough. Children under 12 will have to have a doctor's order, Mitchell said.
"Our goal is to be very well rounded and offer lots of different services," Mitchell said. "We're not trying to take the place of a doctor, but we do realize that, unfortunately, our society is headed for a primary physician shortage over the next 10-20 years. Pharmacists are able to fill some of those needs that physicians may not have as much time to deal with because they're so busy. As the baby boomer generation gets older they are going to be filling up the doctors offices and there will be fewer physicians to see those baby boomer patients. Pharmacists will be able to step in and try and help fill some of those gaps."
Mitchell said he has already hired five new technicians to work at Mitchell's Downtown Drug Store and is now training them. Since he will run the downtown location himself, Mitchell plans to hire another pharmacist to take his place at Family Pharmacy, inside Price Cutter on Neosho Boulevard. That is six new professional jobs created in Neosho. Mitchell said there may eventually be more.
"That's what it's all about really," Mitchell said. "I feel like the chains closing the stores is all about themselves, and that we're making an investment in our own community. We live here. Most of us grew up here. Our kids are going to school here. We want this community to succeed. I'm not saying Walgreens doesn't want it to succeed, but I think the corporate office doesn't think about that for small towns. They think about dollars. Certainly I'm not going to say I'm not thinking about dollars, because you've got to have dollars to be able to make this thing successful and stay open, but it's not all about that. It's about investing in the community, it's about making sure that people have jobs, and we may bring even more jobs. That's a positive thing.
"I hope that everybody that was using Jon's Pharmacy will consider using our downtown drug store as well," Mitchell continued. "They can go where they want to go, but I would like for them to at least think about coming down town once we get the drug store open and give us a try and see."
The telephone number for Mitchell's Downtown Drug Store will be 451-3776. It is currently connected to Mitchell's office phone, where people may call if they have any questions about the new drug store.