Provider Tom Jones takes on ‘drug store row’

Sunday, August 31, 2008

GARNER, N.C.--Pharmacist Tom Jones isn’t afraid to compete with the big guys. In late summer, the owner of Tom Jones Drug planned a move to what’s known locally as “drug store row,” a street populated with several national chains.

“We’ll be smack dab in the middle,” said Jones. “We’ll compete with them and beat ’em. I’ve got a personal, invested commitment with that patron that walks into my store. When you go to Walgreens, you’re not talking to the owner.”

The 34-year-old pharmacy’s new 4,000-square-foot location will feature an expanded selection of HME, shoes and orthotics. Tom Jones also offers respiratory services, compounding and nutritionals.

Offering one-stop healthcare shopping is part of what a pharmacy should be all about, said Jones.

“The healthcare process needs to have HME,” said Jones. “Everybody, whether it’s an individual or one of their family members, is going to need it.”

The company is particularly excited to boost its pedorthics business, said Ben Valena, an ABC-certified pedorthist and orthotic fitter.

“We want to be the resource for these products in the community,” he said. “We don’t look at it based on profit but as creating a great business model with the best service for patients.”

Valena said he fits five to 10 pairs of shoes a day. Even though many private insurances don’t cover the service, people are willing to pay $70 to $100 for a pair of shoes.

“Foot care is such an important aspect,” he said. “They are just getting the right pair of shoes to alleviate a lot of their foot issues.”