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Walker Pharmacy provides quick, personal service

When you patronize a local business, you often get better service and accountability plus the satisfaction of knowing you’re supporting a neighbor. Such is the case with the new locally-owned independent Walker Pharmacy, according to owner and pharmacist Mike Leggett. The pharmacy opened for business May 20 and held a ribbon cutting with the Chamber of Commerce June 13.

“People are surprised that we can compete with the larger stores on the cost of their prescriptions, but we do. We will match anybody’s prices. But I don’t want to compete only on price; I compete by providing better customer service.” --  Mike Leggett,

“People are surprised that we can compete with the larger stores on the cost of their prescriptions, but we do. We will match anybody’s prices. But I don’t want to compete only on price; I compete by providing better customer service.” — Mike Leggett

And it is indeed the new Walker Pharmacy not only because it’s a new business but also because there used to be another “Walker Pharmacy” more than a decade ago, and it was situated very close to the new pharmacy’s location – on the west side of Walker South Road (Hwy. 447), just south of Florida Blvd. and across the street from Carter’s Grocery.

That location also puts the store within shouting distance of two chain pharmacies which sit on opposite corners of Florida Blvd. and Hwy. 447, a proximity that might intimidate an independent pharmacy. However, Leggett revealed that their presence is actually one of the things he really likes about his store’s location.

“I was the manager of the Rite-Aid store in Denham Springs and a pharmacist since 1994, and I’ve been planning to open my own pharmacy for some time. I’ve been waiting and keeping an eye out for the right place, and when I found this location, I knew this was it.  People are surprised that I chose to locate here, but it’s right in the middle of town, and there’s not only a lot of traffic driving by each day, but, because of the two chains, there’s a lot of pharmacy traffic. There’s a chance those customers will see our sign and stop in to check us out, and once they come here, they won’t go back to the chain stores.”

He went on to tell why he believes that so adamantly. “As an independent, we offer something the chains can’t: quick, personal service,” he said. “We know our customers and greet them by name, and they know me, the owner, by name. And when you bring in a prescription, we fill it in 10 minutes or less. Compare that to a chain where you wait 20, 30 or more minutes– if they have the medicine in stock. If not, you wait a day or two for them to order it.

Details

Walker Pharmacy, 29811 Florida Blvd, Walker, LA 70785; 225-243-4852. Business hours: Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., and Sat. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Leggett explained that large chain drugstores are often out of medications because they purposely keep inventory low. “As a former manager of a chain pharmacy I know how all chains operate,” he said, “their inventory of prescription medications is low because their computer program controls the inventory. Staff cannot reorder until the computer’s program allows them to, even when it’s a medication a customer gets every month. But here, as soon as our customers pick up their prescription, we reorder it right away to make sure it will be here when they’re ready for the next refill.”

The new Walker Pharmacy has a section with a variety of gifts and accessories.

The new Walker Pharmacy has a section with a variety of gifts and accessories.

Another thing that wins over customers, according to Leggett, is their prices. “People are surprised that we can compete with the larger stores on the cost of their prescriptions, but we do. We will match anybody’s prices. But I don’t want to compete only on price; I compete by providing better customer service.”

The store further caters to their customers by providing a waiting area with several comfortable upholstered chairs and free coffee. The business has become a gathering spot for locals each morning, and Leggett likes it that way.

“The previous Walker Pharmacy had an informal coffee club with people who used to hang out and drink coffee and catch up on town news. When they found out about our store being open, they started coming here … to hang out and drink coffee and catch up on town news,” laughed Leggett. “We would love for any others who would like to visit with them to come on by.”

Customers also enjoy browsing the retail merchandise in the store. Besides over-the-counter medications and other usual pharmacy items, the store carries a small assortment of sunglasses, reading glasses, home décor, jewelry, purses and other accessories, children’s clothing, gift bags and other items. The pharmacy has a drive-through window for pickup of prescriptions. Leggett said,

Leggett and his staff invite everyone to stop by just to say hello and have a cup of coffee, and then come back and give them a try the next time they need a prescription filled.