Specialty Pharmacy Readying Relocation
BY TED M. NATT JR.
Although Trey Waters still believes in a vibrant and diverse downtown Southern Pines, he is relocating Specialty Pharmacy from Broad Street to the former Olmsted Cleaners building on Bennett Street.
"I loved the location, I loved the store, and we were profitable," Waters said Monday. "But we saw an opportunity on Bennett Street that we feel better positions us for future growth. That's the only reason we would move."
Waters, who owns six pharmacies in North and South Carolina, is spending five figures to ready the 2,200-square-foot building and its existing drive-through.
"The new location provides better access for our customers and better parking," he said. "It's about the same square footage as we have downtown. It's just a different layout."
Holly Bell, a commercial broker with The Kuester Cos. in Pinehurst, said the space was empty less than six months.
"Trey made an excellent decision," Bell said. "I don't know what the traffic count is along Bennett Street, but it has become an extremely popular thoroughfare. He will have greater visibility in his new location.
"We think he is going to be very successful there."
Waters said the goal is to open by Oct. 1.
"We want to position ourselves to where more folks know about us," he said. "We were kind of the best-kept secret in town on Broad Street. A lot of areas of our pharmacy were growing, but people still don't know all that we do."
Waters opened Specialty Pharmacy in February 2011, choosing Broad Street to integrate all of the knowledge he has gained as a pharmacist in the past decade.
"Each pharmacy has incorporated new elements, but I have never had the experience of integrating food, a market, a clinic, a lab and a pharmacy all into one," he said at the time.
A month later, Waters opened Specialty Cafe & Market in adjoining space on Broad, with an emphasis on wellness.
The cafe was viewed as a vehicle to help people make healthy choices. In addition to serving fresh food, there were cooking classes, often with guest chefs showcasing a niche cuisine. The focus was always on proper nutrition.
The cafe was open five months. Waters, who provided the seed money for the cafe, said the decision to close was simple.
"It's about as black and white as you can get in business," he said at the time. "When you don't have the funds to keep it going, you don't have the funds to keep it going."
Waters, who spends most of his time at a new pharmacy in Cary, said he is glad to keep Specialty Pharmacy in Southern Pines.
"We certainly loved downtown," he said. "But anytime you have a business, perceived risk is an issue. Our risk in downtown was parking and access. Those should be eliminated at the new location."
Waters also noted that seven full-time employees are being retained.
"I think that's significant, especially given the slow recovery of the economy," he said. "We're bullish on Southern Pines and feel that this move will greatly benefit both our customers and the company."
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or tnatt@the pilot.com.
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