Yes, America still has independent pharmacies, though they may be getting harder to find as national chain drug stores that double as all-purpose retail shops open on about every available corner.
Jackson, in fact, has the distinction of being home to the nation’s “Most Valuable Pharmacy” based on voting by the Independent Pharmacy Cooperative (IPC).
Beemon Drugs, still at its more-than-half-century location in the Maywood Mart, 1220 E. Northside Drive, won recognition from the IPC as the nation’s MVP for the national organization’s 30 anniversary year. The winner was announced at the recent IPC Annual Business Meeting in Las Vegas.
IPC President & CEO Don Anderson described Beemon Drugs and owner Lester Hailey as “a prime example of the positive impact an independent pharmacy can have on its customers and its community.”
Beemon Drugs, he said, displays leadership in enhancing “the cooperative as a whole through its active participation, plus its utilization of our profitable solutions and contracted programs.”
The IPC MVP Award recognizes a pharmacy that takes full advantage of its cooperative membership and influences future pharmacy owners by mentoring them in all aspects of independent pharmacy ownership.
Hailey said IPC “is like a not-so-silent partner. The organization works hard to get rebates and discounts from pertinent vendors to help us stay more competitive.”
Since its founding in 1983, IPC has evolved into the nation’s largest group purchasing organization for independent pharmacies, representing 4,500 stores.
Beemon Drugs opened in 1956 under its original name of Beemon-Brents. The store changed its name to Beemon Drugs in 1961 with owners Fred and Alvin Brent. Lester Hailey started work at the store in 1977, became partner in 1984 and sole owner in 2003.
Beemon Drugs remains the only original business in the 24-store Maywood Mart shopping center. Hailey and wife Ellen married in 1999 in front of the pharmacy.