Leaving Town

As Mike Adkins reached for a bottle on a shelf, he knew it might be one of his last times doing a job he’d done since 2003. The pharmacy in Fred’s Dollar Store of Grambling has closed.Fred’s Inc., which owns the Fred’s Dollar Store chain, is in the process of closing 75 complete stores. At least 20 pharmacies within the company will be closed. Adkins, manager of the pharmacy at Fred’s in Grambling, said that the closure comes after years of unprofitability.

“The pharmacy wasn’t making any profit,” Adkins said Tuesday. “All records and prescriptions will be moved to the Ruston location on Farmerville Highway,” which is nearly 10 miles away from the Grambling location, according to MapQuest.com.

“It’s an inconvenience,” Adkins said. “This was the only pharmacy in Grambling. It would be a lot less of an impact had it been a larger community with more than one pharmacy.”

Even though the pharmacy has been closed, the community has refused to remain silent. Petitions were passed around, as the citizens of Grambling are trying hard to keep the pharmacy open.

“There are a lot of businesses being closed down,” said Larry Jackson, who has helped publicize the petition. “It impacts the students and the community.” He said the petitions had over 1,000 signatures.

Though the community sprang into action, Adkins hinted that it might have been too late for something to be done.

“Fred’s couldn’t tolerate (the pharmacy) operating at a loss after all these years,” he said. “All indications that I’ve seen are that Fred’s decision is final.”

Barbara McIntyre, president of the Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce, hoped that the corporate headquarters of Fred’s would reconsider the decision to close the pharmacy.

“We have many seniors who aren’t able to go long distances,” she said. “We are hoping that our effort will make some impact.”

According to McIntyre, the corporate office did respond to the petitions and efforts of the community.

“They did not have enough support to keep it open,” said McIntyre. “They checked the figures and looked at our petition.”

Adkins feels the reason the Grambling pharmacy suffered is due to its location. Adkins pointed out that there used to be a clinic where the True Care Dentistry is located. The clinic, Adkins said, helped bring some business to the pharmacy.

“We started with zero customers,” Adkins said. “Fred’s expected to not make a profit for two or three years. In eight years, (the pharmacy) still hasn’t made a profit. Pharmacies do better when they are close to a doctor.”

Adkins also pointed out that college students rarely have ailments that require a pharmacy. However, he noted that foreigners frequented the pharmacy due to their lack of transportation. Despite the few customers, Adkins is still grateful.

“I appreciate the people of the Grambling community that we’ve been serving for almost five years,” he said. “The community doesn’t want us to go.