BY GLENN PUIT email@example.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Former Prescription Shop owner Jim Bock strolled down the aisle of a pharmacy he used to own when, by chance, he ran into longtime customer John Burgess.
The moment on Thursday morning proved to be special for both men.
Burgess recalled how, years earlier, Bock and his employees did everything possible to help him fill a myriad of complex prescriptions for his dying son, Christopher, as the young man valiantly fought and eventually lost a battle with brain tumors.
Burgess never forgot the kindness.
“I told him I appreciated all the help he’d given us,” said Burgess, tears welling, emotion waging war against his words.
“This wasn’t just pulling products off a shelf,” Burgess said. “When you go through something like that, you are looking for support everywhere you can find it from ‘must know’ people.
“And, when you find it, it’s priceless,” Burgess said.
Moments of one-on-one care and compassion between business owner and customer are what Bock will miss most. Bock is selling his four high-profile Prescription Shop outlets in the Grand Traverse region to another Michigan-based company, HomeTown Pharmacy.
“The things I cherish the most are the customers and the group of folks who have been with me, many of them for all of these years,” said Bock. “I’ve always viewed this as a family operation because the public really enjoys this type of business experience, especially in the pharmacy, where it’s very personal.”
The sale involves Prescription Shop pharmacies in Traverse City, Honor, Glen Arbor and Suttons Bay, along with a closed-shop pharmacy that contracts directly with medical service providers. Terms were not disclosed, but HomeTown, Bock said, will continue his longtime commitment to local service by rehiring all of his 34 employees.
Not one worker at the Prescription Shop stores will be laid off.
“I always hired the type of people who fit that family operation mold, and they’ve all been wonderful to work with,” Bock said. “The new buyer hired all of them back, so when you walk into the stores, you won’t see any changes. It will be the same folks who are there to take care of the customers.”
HomeTown officials in a statement said their business philosophy “is much like that of Jim Bock’s. Customer friendly, helpful and individualized pharmaceutical care.”
The purchase is the first market penetration in northwest Michigan for Hometown, which now operates 38 drug stores and related businesses throughout the state.
Bock, meanwhile, reflects on a successful business run that started in 1989 when he left his job at Perry Drugs to purchase his first Prescription Shop outlet on West 14th Street.
“I’ve had a ball,” he said.