Brundidge rolls with business changes to keep city alive

Published 11:00 pm Monday, March 25, 2013

Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage admitted that he likes the “old days.” But, he also realizes that the only constant is change.

Ramage spoke candidly Monday about the impending sale of the town’s two pharmacies to Fred’s Super Dollar.

Fred’s Super Dollar has purchased Price Pharmacy in Brundidge and the transition will take place on Thursday. Price Pharmacy is owned and operated by Kay Seay of the Tarentum community.

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Josh Russell, Fred’s Pharmacy marketing manager, said Fred’s Pharmacy will be located in the Price Pharmacy building. He did not confirm that Fred’s will also purchase Hawkins Drugs, owned by Melanie Hawkins or that Fred’s will purchase the former Grandma’s Kitchen building and relocated there.

However, Stanley Garrett, owner of the former restaurant, said that he is under contract with a company to buy the building.

“Nobody called the city about the purchase of the drug stores. However, we have dealt with a developer,” Ramage said. “But, we are fortunate to have someone come in as a replacement. Some towns lose a business and don’t have a replacement so we are fortunate in that.”

Ramage said a goal of the city is to keep jobs in town.

“We want to keep jobs in Brundidge so the city will live,” the mayor said. “We do have jobs and that’s a plus for us.”

Ramage said on-line shopping and the social media have changed, to a large extent, the way people shop.

“On-line shopping takes a toll on local sales taxes,” he said. “Towns need sales taxes to provide services to their citizens. Like somebody said, when those who are shopping on-line, need a police officer or a firefighter, they won’t be able to go on-line and get one.”

Ramage said, as change occurs, cities have to ‘keep plugging along.”

“If I knew the answer to how to deal with change, I would be a genius,” he said. “And, it’s not just small towns that are having to deal with the changing times and the way people shop. Big cities are being affected, too. I don’t have the answers but I do know that we are not giving up. Brundidge has a lot going for it and, when change comes, we are going to make it work in our favor.”

Council Member Cynthia Pearson, District 4, said that while she understands the importance of new business in Brundidge, she is also aware of the concern about the loss of the two pharmacies that have been mainstays in Brundidge.

“I’m never happy when a store closes,” she said. “We need our hometown businesses and I certainly don’t like to see them close. It’s not always possible for people to pay as they go. It’s been comforting for many of our citizens to know they could walk in the drug store and charge their medications. That’s a benefit of a locally owned business.”

Margaret Ross, councilmember from District 3, said she was not aware of the purchase of the locally owned pharmacies until Friday when she heard people talking.

“It’s disappointing to lose locally owned businesses and that we’ll have more vacant stores on Main Street,” she said.

“I’m glad we’re getting Fred’s. It will bring people to town. But I don’t want to have vacant stores all over town either.”