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Farragut Pharmacy has no woes

Though Farragut Pharmacy competes with chain and mail order pharmacies, owner Betsy Segraves said the business is a “fixture in the community.”

Segraves said she bought Farragut Pharmacy in 1992 from Jack Bevins because she had always wanted to own her own store.

“Working in independent pharmacy had always been my dream because you’re more able to give people more personalized attention,” she said.

Segraves said she offers many services to stay competitive that are not often available at chain drugstores.

“I think we’ve grown a lot in the last five years. We offer some services other drugstores don’t such as free delivery, breast pump rentals and we do some compounding,” she said.

She added that she flavors medicines. “The only chain I know of that might do it is Walgreens. … If someone came in here for an antibiotic … and the taste was horrible – which we have this thing called the ‘wheel of yuck’ — so we [can] flavor it. If the child wanted apple or wanted blueberry or cherry or watermelon, we probably have fifty different flavors we could do — something out there like chocolate silk pie — [to] make it easier for your child to take medicine that doesn’t taste good.”

Segraves said she gives her customers more personalized attention that is not always possible at chain stores.

“I guess I’m very familiar with people and what medications they take and what medications their family members take. I feel people can ask me anything and they feel freely to ask me anything.”

She added, “They’re called by name, they feel like they’re getting personalized attention, most of my customers I know by name when they come in here. … Sometimes I’ll even recall their dog’s name.”

Segraves said she also gives faster service. “Because we don’t have the huge volume that a chain does, we’re able to offer faster service. [Customers] usually don’t wait more than fifteen minutes for a prescription,” she said.

She added inventory is not a problem because she gets orders in every day.

“… if we don’t have something in stock we can have it by nine-thirty the next day.”

Segraves said a benefit of owning an independent pharmacy is the hours. She said her hours have not been a concern for her customers.

“There’s not a twenty-four-hour pharmacy in Farragut,” she said. “I’ve had a couple of people and I’ve worked with them, I’ve dropped their medication off at their house, we’ve been able to work with them if it’s a huge issue.”

Segraves said Farragut Pharmacy faces challenges. “I think people have the mindset independent pharmacies are higher, you have to pay more to come here. That’s just not true,” she said.

Segraves said she often hears, “I didn’t know you took my insurance.” She said co-pays are the same whether a customer goes to Wal-Mart, CVS or Farragut Pharmacy.

She said insurance companies do not list Farragut Pharmacy in the pharmacy booklet people receive from their insurance companies because insurance companies say “there are so many independent pharmacies across the country, we can’t list them all.”

She added, “I would say my biggest challenge is insurance, I guess the insurance companies and all their hoops you have to go through, or policies.”

Segraves said mail order and chain pharmacies are a concern, but “as long as independent pharmacies stick together and there’s people in the pubic that want personalized attention by someone who cares about them, there will always be a demand for small pharmacies.”

Rural pharmacies dependent upon TennCare may be an exception. “With the TennCare thing, [I] fear a lot of independent pharmacies will close in rural areas. Hopefully that won’t happen, but that remains to be seen,” Segraves said.

Independent pharmacies are already closing due to TennCare cuts, such as Caremax Pharmacy in Loudon. Owner Jim Munsey said he sold out to the Rite Aid pharmacy chain because more than half of his business was cut by TennCare.

For now, Farragut Pharmacy does not appear to be in danger of closing. A customer was even waiting for the doors to be unlocked promptly at 9 a.m.

Customer Carol Brown said, “There’s such a friendly atmosphere with the girls.

“I feel like I’m important to them. … I have even called [Segraves] at home if something’s important.”

Which is why, Brown said, she would continue going to Farragut Pharmacy over a chain because chains “don’t really get to know their customer.”

Farragut Pharmacy is located at 11424 Kingston Pike.


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