It’s been a long time coming. When I first announced the planned opening of Phoenix Pharmacy, it was February and the plan included a summer opening. Spring and summer passed and, while it seems like a long time, there are a number of hurdles to clear to build-out a space downtown, get all the approvals and open a business. This one has been no different. And so, instead of a summer opening, we have a fall opening.
Charlie Southerland, your downtown pharmacist, has been quietly open, filling prescriptions and selling over-the-counter medications for the last week or so, trying to make sure all systems work smoothly. He’s working out of the back space of the business, which is really three businesses in one. When construction is complete on the middle section, he’ll move the pharmacy there, to its permanent home. That will allow his current space to be converted to a walk-in clinic and the front space will continue its march toward becoming a lunch counter with a soda fountain.
The Phoenix Building in which it is housed would downtown’s equivalent to baseball’s most valuable player. The building holds residents, but it also houses a wider range of amenities and living essentials than any other in Knoxville. Under the same roof you can now get your clothes cleaned or shoes resoled, do your banking, enjoy a good cup of coffee and fill your prescriptions or pick up any of a number of pharmacy-related items. Soon you’ll also have a lunch counter and a walk-in clinic (sometime around the turn of the year). That includes quite a bit for one building.
The pharmacy is currently able to fill most any prescription. If the medication needed is quite unusual, it may be obtained by the following business day. And they will deliver to your home or downtown office, if you’d like. They also have about half or less of the stock they will eventually carry and I have to say I’m impressed with the range of items available. With just some wall units and a couple of temporary shelves in the middle of the room, I was doubtful as to how good the selection could be. I was wrong.
I found brands of shampoo I’ve used as well as the shaving cream I (sporadically) use. Band-aids, bandages, feminine hygiene products. paper towels are all in place. Of course they have pain medication and cold remedies, but I figured surely they didn’t have children’s Tylenol. They do. I doubted seriously they would have non-brand versions of Dayquil and Nyquil. They do. I figured the toilet paper would be $6 for four rolls (worth it if you are desperate), but a roll of paper towels or four rolls of toilet paper are a dollar. I didn’t see condoms at first, then I spotted them, so that’s a wrap. They offer a pretty wide range of vitamins.
I really couldn’t think of any common thing that could not be purchased and for a reasonable price. And that’s only half or less of the stock they will eventually carry. They are currently taking suggestions. We thought of a plunger and a neighbor mentioned duct tape. They will watch what sells and restock accordingly, attempting to carry just enough of everything, though Charlie tells me they can re-stock in a day.
Drop in and see them. Today they are open 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM and tomorrow they’ll be open for business from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM and for the downtown Trick or Treat event from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Next week they will begin their official hours, which are Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM and 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Saturday. They are closed on Sundays. These hours are flexible and will depend on business, so drop in at all hours if you like the range.
Charlie wants you to know they accept all major brands of insurance and he’ll help you change your prescriptions over with a simple phone call. He added that they are now offering flu shots. We got a prescription filled there last week and found it was inexpensive and readily available. I bet you’ll find the same to be true. And I bet Charlie is nicer and more personable than your pharmacist.
I’ll add that having a downtown pharmacy is an essential service if we are to be more than an entertainment district, so we need to support it if we want to keep this kind of business. From prescriptions and over-the-counter medications and toilet paper, it’s important to make purchases there. If you want to support local instead of big business, make purchases there. Keep Knoxville Scruffy? Then support the little guy. Give them a “like” on Facebook, but most important, give them your business. And tell them you read it here.