Is there a future for small independent pharmacy?

A little tale. The names have been changed to protect the guilty and innocent alike.

A few week-ends ago myself and my good wife decided to take some time out and avail of one of the many cut price weekend breaks that fill my Inbox every day. It had to be a cut price week end as I’m a poor small independent pharmacist and that’s all I can afford.

As we drove to our destination we took a break for a cup of tea and a bun. We stopped in what used to be a two horse town before the recession but now is down to one horse and even that looks like it is on the way to the nearest burger factory. We walked the main drag of this town in search of sustenance and being in the trade I noticed the pharmacies that were located there. We saw five pharmacies, two owned by an Irish chain and three independents. This was a Friday about 12 noon. These were all of a similar size and laid out so that just by passing you could see all of the interior.
Being the nosey git that I am I made note of the customers. One had 3 customers, one had two and the third had one. Two were empty apart from staff. Which was which? The empty ones were the chains. The one and two customer pharmacies looked standard enough. The busiest was smaller than my pharmacy. There was one customer at the cosmetics counter, one at the OTC counter and a third one talking to the pharmacist. The pharmacist was a man after my own heart, no tie, cardigan and looking totally at ease.

So as the recession bites and this town losses it’s one horse who’ll survive? My money is on the independents.

As the weekend progressed I continued my observations of retail. The town we stayed in is in real trouble retail wise. Not only the pharmacies but the town center most of the retail businesses were near deserted. This was a Friday afternoon and a Saturday. I cannot feel that this is the situation nationwide in relation to retail. Lets hope that we are all still here when the troika are finished with us.

The conspiracy theorist in me says that the troika are looking to destroy Irish business to allow German, French and British multinationals to come in here cheap and complete the commercial take over that has already started. Don’t say that you haven’t been warned.