Sometimes the small local company is still the best choice.

When I was a little girl, Walmart was just a place to buy clothes and hardware. We shopped at actual grocery stores for our food. We visited the auto shop to have our car maintained. We went to the pharmacy to fill our prescriptions.

There was a tiny building simply called The Fruit Market that sold fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables where we purchased most of the produce that we didn’t grow ourselves. Our mechanic owned and operated his own shop, and we saw him for all of our auto needs. Our pharmacy was inside our local drug store.

As time marched on, Walmart grew and added milk and bread to their offerings. Soon, they were selling a full line of groceries and open 24 hours a day. Many people stopped shopping at stores that only sold one type of good. One stop shopping was the new big thing. The Fruit Market, auto shop, and drug store closed.

Today, you can purchase practically everything you need at your local Walmart. You can have your oil changed, tires rotated, get your hair done, your eyes checked, buy a birthday cake, your weekly groceries, the kids’ school supplies, new clothes for the family, and enjoy a nice lunch.

I shop at Walmart, but not exclusively. I hate the crush of the crowds and the feeling of being a rat in a maze. I prefer to shop in smaller stores where the employees are friendly and the quality of merchandise is top notch because it’s specialized. For the past several years, I’ve used the pharmacy conveniently located in my local grocery store. With one pharmacist and one tech on duty, service was friendly, efficient, and personal.

A few days ago, my pharmacy closed without notice. My prescriptions were transferred to Walgreens without my consent. I discovered this when I called my pharmacy and the phone rang through to the Walgreens automated pharmacy line. Upon further investigation, I learned that the grocery store itself will close in three weeks.

The reason given for the closings is that our city is glutted with grocery stores. We actually have one grocery store and one Walmart. There is a Walmart Neighborhood Market and another grocery store a few miles away, but they are not in our city. With the closing of our local grocery store, we will just have Walmart.

mortar and pestle

I decided to use Bruner Pharmacy, which is a small locally owned pharmacy about five minutes from my house. I began the process yesterday morning shortly after they opened. I gave them the labels from my current prescriptions bearing the prescription numbers to make things easy for them.

It was a convoluted mess that took my new pharmacy six hours to sort out. First, they had difficulty retrieving my information from Walgreens, which I’m certain is experiencing a huge influx of work and confusion right now. Due to the transfer coinciding with my doctor sending over new refill orders, Walgreens was showing that my prescriptions had already been filled. I hadn’t purchased any medication from the pharmacy in the past 30 days.

My new pharmacy team stayed on top of everything. They called Walgreens several times to get everything transferred. When not all of my medicine was transferred, they called my doctor and requested a new prescription be sent to them. They kept me informed throughout the day. I had told them that I needed my medication refilled the same day, and they made it their personal mission to make it so.

The customer service I received from Bruner Pharmacy validated my decision to make them my new pharmacy. I want to be a person, not a number, to the people who handle the medication that keeps me healthy. I seriously doubt that anyone at a large pharmacy would have made a dozen phone calls on my behalf to insure I could have my medication the same day I requested it. I’m absolutely certain I wouldn’t have received several status updates throughout the day with assurances that they would have my medicine for me by close of business.

Bruner proved to be an amazing pharmacy yesterday. The staff even expressed concern that my insulin copay was so high. They were diligent, competent, and compassionate. I have never seen a business work so hard for me. They have earned my loyalty. Sometimes the local business really is the best choice.