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Fighting the ‘BIG BOYS’ Independent merchants slay chain

I

stores with unparalleled service

By Luanne Williams

t’s a classic David and Goliath story — small local businesses toiling in the shadow of big name chain stores with daunting advertising budgets.

But a number of Union County proprietors have found the right combination of sling and stones to land a solid blow against their giant competitors. One key weapon — unparalleled customer service. “The big boys can never hire enough people to compete with the customer service that we provide," says Lamar Wingo, who owns Indian Trail Hardware with his wife, Karen.

“With individual attention from the time you walk into the door until after your purchase when we load it for you, we can’t be matched by the big boys.”

At Faulkner's Drugs in Monroe, that service includes minimizing wait times. “Big box chain stores certainly have the name recognition and advertising budget, but often lack the personal service,” says David Jamison, pharmacist/owner. “We try to offer all the services chain stores offer – $4 generics, immunizations, accepting all third-party insurance cards — but without the wait and impersonal service.”

He says 20- to 30-minute or longer delays at many chain stores are designed to get customers to browse for more purchases. “We respect people's time and try to keep wait time to an absolute minimum.”

main way of fostering relationships with our patients is by spending time with them while they are here. We ask about their health and is there any information we can offer or any way to help.”

At Madison’s Coffee House on Idlewild A Waxhaw resident, David purchased the pharmacy in Road in Hemby 1988.from father and son, Eddie and Gary Faulkner, Bridge, owner Dawn who opened the business at the corner of Jefferson Stodolski and her and Church streets in 1961. Well-known pharmacist five-member staff also Dawn Stodolski‘s coffee house has a warm, cozy ambience try to get personal Joe Black joined the staff last year, giving the (Nancy Stephen photo) with their patrons. with plenty of room to sit or meet. pharmacy a boost as has a recent remodel. “We learn our Other features that help set Faulkner’s apart include customers by name and ask about them. We know when they come compounding — creating a particular pharmaceutical product back from vacation or when they have a death in the family. tailored to a patient’s unique needs, such as changing a pill to a

liquid, avoiding a non-essential ingredient that a person may be allergic to, or flavoring medicines to make them more palatable — and delivery.

The pharmacy also goes the extra mile to help customers find manufacturer coupons to save money on prescriptions. “We try to treat customers as we would like to be treated,” David adds. “Our

6 Union Lifestyle l December 2013 / January 2014

“Community is the most important thing. Starbucks may write your name on your cup, but here it is more of a true community.”

A Connecticut transplant with no plans to ever leave the South, Dawn goes out of her way to get a requested favorite drink or ice cream flavors for her regulars. To make morning moms’ groups more comfortable at Madison’s than the chain stores, she set up a

Union Lifestyle Dec Jan 2014  

For and about Union County residents; interesting people, places and things to do.

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