Hometown Pharmacy marks first year
Many new businesses would face quite a struggle with a flooded building within a year of opening.
The same was true for Hometown Pharmacy in Fitchburg, which flooded thanks to a problem with the sprinkler system the night of Jan. 8, but pharmacist Thad Schumacher also saw it as an opportunity.
“A lot of businesses would have a high probability of folding in that situation,” Schumacher said, pointing to the infrastructure of 30 Hometown Pharmacies throughout Wisconsin as what kept his business open. “There was some silver linings in there for sure.”
Those silver linings included a chance to redesign the front end of the store, as it was “basically…a do-over,” Schumacher said.
The ability to make it through the flood and remain open through a remodeling is something Schumacher can now look back on with a laugh as he continues to move forward in the place where he “always wanted to be.”
“What drove me is the ability to take care of people that I live around and work with,” he said. “That is important to me, and I’ve really enjoyed the fact that I’ve taken care of friends and neighbors now. My kids are able to stop by in the afternoons and see me on their way home from school.”
Schumacher moved to Fitchburg in 2008 with his family, but had worked at the New Glarus Hometown Pharmacy until 2013, when the Fitchburg Bergmann’s Pharmacy was bought out by Walgreens and subsequently closed.
“We would’ve never opened and competed against another independent,” he said. “It wouldn’t be good for either business.”
But once that independent store was gone, he and the company saw a chance to get into a “community-minded” market and help people shop locally, Schumacher said.
The store officially opened June 25, 2013, and business was steadily growing as more and more people found out about the business, located at 3000 Cahill Main Suite 114.
While the flood and subsequent remodel may have set them back, Schumacher said he still has seen steady growth, and customers who had already been around greatly appreciated the efforts to stay open throughout the remodeling process.
“It was tough,” he said. “Coming and working on a concrete floor and having the walls opened up for weeks on end, but we never did close. We had a responsibility to the people that we had already agreed to take care of.”
The remodel was finally complete in early March when the carpet was installed.
“It was a great day when all that was finished,” Schumacher said. “Our customer base would come in and they were just ‘oh finally.’ They were very concerned about us.”
But staying open isn’t the only extra step Schumacher is willing to take to serve his clients. The store recently began offering delivery to workplaces in addition to home delivery, and he even posts his cell phone number on the front door in case of emergencies after hours or on Sundays, when the store is closed.
“People think that you put your phone number on the door, people are going to call you all the time, but people are pretty respectful of your time,” he said. “They only call when they think it’s an emergency, and usually that’s when it is.”
The store is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays.
Schumacher hopes that more people will come to recognize the local feel of Hometown and how much value it provides to have a pharmacist who personally knows each of his customers.
“(Clients) like to know that somebody knows them and knows what’s going on with them,” he said. “I really like to help people solve their problems. Pharmacy is a great way to do that.”