After eighteen years of serving the community with Central Drug Store, Jill Miller attests to the pharmacy’s continued dedication to quality service, affordability and personalized attention. Miller started working at Central Drug Store the August after Mr. Claude Derbes, the owner, opened the doors of the pharmacy. “It’s just been a slice of heaven ever since,” she said. Miller recalled her first customer interactions when she worked as a clerk in the front of the store, “I had their bag ready before they got their foot in the door. We kept it very personable. We wanted to make them feel like they weren’t just coming in like they’re a number.”
Jill Miller now runs store operations and covers anything from Human Resources to paying bills, “Any aspect of the store, I know how to do it,” she says. She emphasizes the importance of customer service and passionately expressed the importance of going the extra mile. “I love what I do, and it is stressful…. But I have the ability to help people in need… From people that are sick or people who can’t afford their medicine, we work with them. We try to help them because that is what we are here for, not just to get people in and out and try to make as much money as we can.” Because Central Drug Store is an independent business, Miller notes this allows for a greater attention and more personalized response to customer needs.
While Central Drug Store employs only sixteen people, Miller still cites impressive volume consumption. “Last Monday we filled over seven hundred prescriptions with three pharmacists, which is pretty huge.” In fact, Central Drug Store’s volume is increasing steadily. “We’re still continually getting new patients,” Miller says, “We’ve been here eighteen years and there’s still people in this community who do not know we’re here.”
Despite difficulties with insurance companies, Central Drug Store remains fiercely protective of its customers. “I fight everyday with insurance companies,” Miller says, “They’re increasing premiums or they won’t cover this or they force them to go to CVS or Walgreens and tell them they can’t come here… Now insurance companies think they know more than the doctor… because they get a kickback from the drug companies.”
Nonetheless, Central Drug Store persists in its mission to aid their loyal customers. “We try to help people down on their luck. I have my girls come back here saying, ‘Can I just pay for Ms. So and So’s medicine because she really is just struggling with it?’” Her business philosophy is quite simple, treat others like you would want to be treated. “We’re not going to deny someone medicine just because of bureaucratic red tape.”
Miller has confidence in the future of Central Drug Store and even talks of eventual expansion. “We’ll still be a presence here. I would love for us to be a presence in a larger area, square footage wise,” she says, “We’d love that corner right there at Sullivan and Hooper.” While no immediate plans exist for expansion, Miller remains positive in the current status of Central Drug Store. “We’re doing so well with our volume and our rapport with our customers that I don’t foresee this stopping anytime soon.”