>Brookings Oregon News, Sports, & Weather | The Curry Coastal Pilot

News Classifieds Web
web powered by Web Search Powered by Google

News arrow News arrow Business arrow BROOKINGS SMALL BUSINESS REBOUNDS

Print

BROOKINGS SMALL BUSINESS REBOUNDS

By Charles Kocher

Pilot staff writer

It was the classic big-box vs. small business scenario: When Fred Meyer opened in Brookings, there was indeed a drop in business for Chetco Pharmacy and Gifts just down the street.

"Our business did go down," says Tim Yantis, the a pharmacist at the store. "I'd say slightly more than half."

But with an attitude of beating the big box – chiefly with better service – Chetco Pharmacy has rebounded and grown, even winning a national award as pharmacy of the year.

Yantis, now owner, recounted the "wild ride" this week at the Industry Showcase Luncheon of the 2007 Business Outlook Conference organized by the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce.

Despite his low-key presentation and just-doing-our- job attitude, the conference crowd showered Yantis with compliments and applause for his store's customer service and innovations.

Opened in 1950, what was first Chetco Rexall Drug had been a fixture in downtown Brookings, first in a corner of the former Kerr's Hardware building, and later in the Manley Building near the Redwood Theater.

Owners Frenchy Arrell and Doug Peterson built a new store at the current location in 1970, and Yantis hired on in 1980. "I thought it was a big store for a small community."

It was 1997 – in the wake of the Fred Meyer opening – that Yantis was offered a chance to buy the store. Skeptical, he brought his brother, a business expert, down to review the opportunity.

The decision? "We can make it better – selling cheaper and getting the drugs out faster."

The formula worked. Sales doubled in two years and tripled by 2000.

"It's all about customer service," Yantis said, noting that many of his clerks have been greeting customers by name for decades.

Careful product selection also made a difference. "We went away from what Fred Meyer was selling to what they didn't have – unique things," Yantis remembered.

By 2003, business was good enough for a complete remodel, including addition of a drive-up window. "Then Fred Meyer remodeled and put one in too," Yantis joked.

Chetco Pharmacy has also invested in technology, adding automated phone ordering and a "robot" to fill prescriptions. "We were one of the first pharmacies to put in a robot," Yantis said.

Now he's on his second robot, still working long hours and looking for help.

When he joined the store, Yantis said there were three pharmacists and six or seven clerks. "Now there's one pharmacist and 21 clerks, or 22 people and a robot," he said. And the pharmacist – Yantis – is working 12-hour days.

"If you know of a pharmacist looking for work, let me know," he begged the audience.

The efforts are all aimed at the customer. "That's what we pride ourselves on is how fast we can get a prescription out."

Yantis pledged to keep up the trademarks of fast and friendly service.

"It's not really what I've been doing," Yantis said. "It was Frenchy and Doug; it's putting the customers first."

Print

Business News by Yahoo Finance

  • Ferdinand Piech resigns, ending an era at Volkswagen
    HAMBURG/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Ferdinand Piech, a towering figure at Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) for more than two decades, resigned as its chairman on Saturday after losing a showdown he had provoked with Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn, ending an era at the iconic German carmaker. Piech, the 78-year-old grandson of the inventor of the Volkswagen Beetle Ferdinand Porsche, had previously seen off other executives who crossed him, including his own hand-picked successor as CEO, Bernd Pischetsrieder. "The members of the steering committee came to a consensus that, in the light of the past weeks, the mutual trust necessary for successful cooperation was no longer there," the six-member panel said in a statement after another meeting on Saturday.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch to ditch 'sexualized marketing': Washington Post
    Retail clothing chain Abercrombie & Fitch will end by July its "sexualized marketing," after years of blanketing its web sites, store windows and shopping bags with photos of half-naked men, according to the Washington Post. It will also stop using shirtless models or lifeguards at events and store openings for both the Abercrombie & Fitch and the Hollister brands, the newspaper reported late Friday, citing an announcement. Abercrombie & Fitch had come under fire in recent years for its strict dress code and sexualized marketing, and has been in a Supreme Court case for denying a Muslim woman a job because of her head scarf. The changes come as the company faces slumping sales, as teens increasingly move away from the brand, according to the Washington Post.
  • If Greece falls, no one wants their prints on the murder weapon
    The game of chicken between Greece and its international creditors is turning into a vicious blame game as Athens lurches closer to bankruptcy with no cash-for-reform agreement in sight. Europe's political leaders and central bankers and Greek politicians agree on only one thing: if Greece goes down, they don't want their fingerprints on the murder weapon. If Athens runs out of cash and defaults in the coming weeks, as seems increasingly possible, no one wants to be accused of having pushed it over the edge or failed to try to save it. Greece's leftist government has already identified its culprit of choice - Germany, Europe's main paymaster, accused of having inflicted toxic austerity policies on Greeks, causing a "humanitarian crisis".

Follow Curry Coastal Pilot headlines on Follow Curry Coastal Pilot headlines on Twitter

© Copyright 2001 - 2015 Western Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. By Using this site you agree to our Terms of Use