By Sharyn Cornelius
The “OPEN” light to the left of the door was on at Owens Pharmacy in Palo Cedro on Monday, April 13, 2015 and the banners announcing its opening were going up that afternoon. Inside the store, the three experienced employees and one trainee were ready to serve customers. Pharmacist Paul Evans will head up the staff at Palo Cedro’s newest locally owned pharmacy; he will be aided by Louise Collins and Chris Jacobsen, both residents of Palo Cedro, and they will all be teaching Babs Staup, a floating tech, the ropes.
Owens Healthcare President Steve Madsen, marketing rep Adam Wilson, and Jessica Acevedo came out from the corporate office in Redding for the opening. We asked Madsen what had brought Owens Pharmacy to Palo Cedro after Rite Aid bought out the two local pharmacies and set up shop in the building used by one of them.
Madsen answered that the community had reached out to Owens and asked if they would be willing to open a store in Palo Cedro. “We had a lot of calls from people who missed the service they had received from their local pharmacies,” Madsen said. “And our owner John Friesen was born in Millville, so this area is special to him. We started looking for a suitable location and found this vacant building. What sold us on this location was its visibility, its easy access and the amount of parking. This is just what we were looking for.” He grinned. “It didn’t hurt that it was right across the street from Rite Aid.”
We asked if Owens was concerned about competing with a corporate giant like Rite Aid, and Madsen answered that they have successfully competed with all the big chain pharmacies in the North State for years. “Our whole business model is very different from theirs,” he explained. “The big chain stores make their money from selling the stuff in their stores, so they want to get lots of people inside. It’s no accident that their pharmacies are in the back. That’s so people will see stuff to buy as they are coming and going. Owens primary goal is to serve our customers’ pharmacy needs. We have a good supply of over the counter medicines and health supplies, but that’s for our customers’ convenience and not a major money-maker for us. We have found that a lot of people prefer our business model. It’s not a happy day for Rite Aid when an Owens Pharmacy opens across the street.”
Wilson said the Palo Cedro Owens Pharmacy will offer all the services the company has become famous for over the years. Though the store has a hospitality center with free coffee, comfortable chairs, and reading material for customers who need to wait while their prescriptions are filled, Owens guarantees that prescriptions will be ready in 15 minutes. Owens will also deliver prescriptions by mail or courier for free, even to Shingletown, Whitmore and Oak Run; and with their Med Sync service, they can adjust prescription refill dates so that they all fall on the same day each month. Their free drug discount card can save customers up to 40 percent on prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications as well, and they offer all the standard vaccinations.
Owens Pharmacy will hold its Grand Opening Celebration from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 29. The event will feature a tri tip barbecue by master chef Adam Wilson (a man of many hats) who promises a “change your life food experience.” Billy and Patrick of Q97 will do a live broadcast and everyone who attends will be entered in a drawing for a TV. They would like to invite the whole community to attend.