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Family Pharmacy is top small business

10-May-2007: The only Family Pharmacy store in Springfield was named the 2007 W. Curtis Strube Small Business of the Year on Wednesday by the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.
"What a honor," said Lynn Morris, owner of the company. "I am caught off guard."

The business made it to the finals but fell short of winning the award last year. This year, it competed with Buxton-Kubik-Dodd Inc., an interior design and architecture firm, and Smillie's Market for the area's top recognition for small businesses.

"It is to honor the best of the best," said Ann Marie Baker, the chamber's chairwoman, at the award ceremony.

Said Morris: "This means a lot to my family, to my company and to the employees."

Family Pharmacy, a 17-store regional company, opened a Springfield location with three employees in 2002 inside Summer Fresh grocery store on Plainview Road.

Today the store has five employees, who fill prescriptions and offer services, Morris said.

"It's actually an award for our employees and for the great customer services they provide," he said.

The store offers free local delivery and mail service. It also carries home and hospital equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers and crutches.

In 2006, the business faced challenges when Medicare Part D went into effect.

It took a proactive approach by providing customers with a free 20-page handbook that explains the new regulations.

It also had to deal with delayed reimbursements and underpayments of several prescriptions, said Carrie Tennis, the company's director of operations.

In the same year, bigger retailers such as Wal-Mart and, locally, Price Cutter, began to offer generic drugs for $4 and $3 respectively.

So, Family Pharmacy tries to increase sales volume and reduce costs to stay competitive, Tennis said.

"We feel this has made us a stronger business," Tennis wrote in the award application.

Last year, the company also made two major moves: it installed a new computer system and had changes in its wholesale distributor for pharmaceuticals.

Now, the company is looking for opportunities to expand in Springfield, adding probably two to three news stores, Morris said.

As Super D drug stores are closing down this week, Family Pharmacy may open new stores at the old Super D locations, Morris said.

Source: News-Leader.com

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