Rogers Pharmacy may have gotten rid of its soda fountain, but the family-owned pharmacy still has the makings of a Norman Rockwell painting.
The independent pharmacy is celebrating 50 years in business. Mel Rogers started his pharmacy in 1967. At that time, he operated pharmacies in Tarkio, Fairfax and Mound City, Missouri. He purchased the St. Joseph location at 2524 Frederick Ave. in 1994.
The independent pharmacy chain has managed to find success in a corporate world.
Rogers previously told the News-Press that some large chain pharmacies are focused on mass merchandising and don’t take time to talk to the customers. It’s a philosophy that has kept the business alive five decades later.
“We’ve had to do things different,” said Rex Robinson, a pharmacist at the St. Joseph store. “And we have tools to do that.”
Robinson, who did his internship at Donaldson Pharmacy, the drugstore purchased by Rogers in the 1990s, said the business grows with competition.
“If you don’t do volume, you don’t stay in business,” he said. “(Rogers) has been able to hit on that volume.”
But Rogers Pharmacy’s primary focus is customer service. Robinson believes this is incorporated into every component of its products and service offerings, including delivery and knowledgeable staff. At Rogers, staff are able to sit down with customers and wade through sometimes complex health-care issues like products and insurance coverage.
“We stress personalized service,” Robinson said.
For the last eight or nine years, the company has had customer appreciation day. While many companies do this, Rogers does it differently. It’s not a coupon or discount. Instead, there’s homemade food for customers, goodie bags and drawings to win lift chairs.
“It’s just a fun day to give back to the customers,” Robinson said. “We’re not like everyone else. (Customers) are like family. We try to be a one-stop shop and gain their confidence.”
Robinson said that when he first started there were only a handful of employees, maybe less than 10. Today, the St. Joseph store alone has 50 employees, including six pharmacists.
Mel Rogers always has thought about the future. Years ago, he offered financial assistance to pharmacy students. If they took a job somewhere else after graduation, they paid the money back. But if they worked at one of Rogers’ pharmacies, the loan is forgiven after three years.
But that same optimism translated into his business practices.
“Mel always dreams,” Robinson said. “He’s very supportive.”
Nonetheless, Rogers Pharmacy knows the value of changing with the times. Rogers’ son, Benne Rogers, is an owner and runs the business.
Robinson said the future could include a bigger facility to handle the volume of services and customers.
“At the same time, I want to take care of the people that come in, not feel overlooked,” he said. “But the future is wide open.”