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Local pharmacies give way to large chain

Gainesville’s Corner Drugs sold to CVS

POSTED: December 21, 2011 11:30 p.m.
TOM REED/The Times

Corner Drugs, at the corner of Enota Avenue and Thompson Bridge Road, closed recently after it was sold to CVS.

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In 1993, Cleveland Brown opened Corner Drugs with just himself and one employee.

The property on the corner of Thompson Bridge Road and Enota Avenue in Gainesville was once home to a Phillips 56 filling station.

"I just decided that I wanted to put a drug store on that corner," Brown said. "It was just really far more successful than I'd ever dreamed of."

But the business closed its doors late last month after selling its prescription files to CVS.

"I really would have liked to have done this in about five years, but sometimes when a deal comes along you have to take it," he said. "I was afraid the deal wouldn't be there in five years."

CVS contacted Brown about his pharmacy six months ago. He said several factors weighed into his decision to sell.

"There's a lot of market forces that make it difficult for independent pharmacies," Brown said.

"General economy is one, dealing with insurance companies is another and various government programs. It still can be done. It's not that it's impossible to do."

Though several local pharmacies have closed recently, Brown said he believes there will always be a place for them.

"I know my customers are going to miss coming to my store and particularly the ice cream," Brown said.

Brown has gone to work for CVS at its Park Hill location. CVS spokesman Michael DeAngelis said it is common for employees to go to work for CVS in these kinds of acquisitions.

Corner Drugs isn't the only local independent pharmacy purchased by CVS in recent months.

Two of the Dixie City Pharmacy locations closed over the summer after CVS bought them.

Eddie Mimbs, managing pharmacist of Dixie City Pharmacy, said the decision to close two of his stores was "just simply a business decision."

CVS contacted Mimbs about the two properties, in Oakwood and Flowery Branch, a few years ago. Mimbs sold the pharmacy files earlier this year and closed on June 28.

"Someone wanted them more than we did," Mimbs said.

The first Dixie City Pharmacy opened 40 years ago, and Mimbs said it cost only $13,000 to open. The cost today would be close to half a million dollars, something not many people could afford to do, he said.

"I see the demise in the independent pharmacy," Mimbs said.

DeAngelis said CVS acquires the pharmacy files of about 200 pharmacies annually from both chain and independent pharmacies. Files must be transferred to another pharmacy before it can close, DeAngelis said .

 



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