It's sometimes hard for an independent business to compete with the big chains, but Falgun Patel thinks he has found a way to do it. He matches his competitor's prices and aims to offer better service.
Patel owned Riverview Healthmart Pharmacy, which opened in May at 9858 U.S. 301 S. It's an independently owned and operated Healthmart franchise.
"We match all our competitor's prices," Patel said. "Even Walmart and Publix. And we have free delivery within an 8- to 10-mile radius."
Walmart offers a lot of prescription medications for $4, and Publix offers many antibiotics for free. Riverview Healthmart Pharmacy matches those discounted prices, which means prescription for antibiotics could be free, even if delivered directly to customers' homes.
Employees need to make sure customers actually have a prescription. So customers will usually have to bring their initial prescription into the store and have refills delivered. Or their doctors can phone prescriptions in to the pharmacy, Patel said.
The business won't deliver some prescriptions that are often abused such as pain medications.
Matching competitors' prices does more than simply save money, Patel said.
"People don't have to go shopping and get one prescription from one pharmacy and another from a different pharmacy, just to get the best price," he said. "They can get everything from the same place, and we can have their entire medication history."
Unlike the chain pharmacies, Riverview Healthmart doesn't carry magazines, food and batteries. It strictly sells prescriptions, over-the-counter medication and health care supplies.
The store is open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturdays. Call (813) 677-3800.
Trendy clothes get second life at store
Buying clothes for rapidly growing teenagers can be expensive. Buying fashionable clothes for them can be even more so.
A new shop called Hut No. 8 has a remedy.
Hut No. 8, at 3448 Lithia-Pinecrest Road in the Lithia Crossing Plaza, offers used clothing in current styles at a fraction of the price of new items.
"We basically cater to teens and young adults," said co-owner Jay Lyles. "We buy stuff that is current, like from the past 18 months or so, brands like American Eagle and Hollister. And after we buy it, we steam clean it and press it, or do whatever it takes to make it look brand-new."
Lyles opened the store with his wife, Julie, and their friends Kim and Chris Woods on April 17. Business was steady right from the start, Lyles said, and it has been getting better. The store has been popular with shoppers buying bargain clothes and accessories (name-brand T-shirts sell for $3 to $8, jeans from $9 to $25) and young people selling clothes and shoes they've outgrown, and hats, belts, purses and accessories that may not suit their tastes.
Unlike a consignment shop, Hut No. 8 pays cash on the spot. But it doesn't buy items that are noticeably worn or damaged, Lyles said.
Hut No. 8 is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and noon until 6 p.m. Sundays. Call (813) 689-0111 or visit hut8valrico.com.
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