When Rock Hill Pharmacy closed abruptly last fall amid financial issues, employees suddenly had no job and longtime customers were forced to find another place to have prescriptions filled.
Five months later, both groups are happy again because three of those former employees have opened their own pharmacy - in the same spot.
Palmetto Family Pharmacy opened last month at 1030 Oakland Ave. and is co-owned by Brandon Hall, Robin Alion and Lora Crouch, who worked together for nearly five years at Rock Hill Pharmacy, which formerly operated as The Medicine Shoppe for more than a decade and developed a loyal base of customers.
"We work well together," Hall said. "We're like family."
Rock Hill Pharmacy closed in October without warning to customers or employees. Owner Ken Fetuao said at the time that it was a business decision because the pharmacy wasn't as profitable as it could've been.
The pharmacy also was thousands of dollars in debt to its Spartanburg-based supplier.
The day Hall, Alion and Crouch learned they were out of a job, they resolved to open their own pharmacy to continue serving their longtime customers.
"We knew we had the right people to have a successful business," Hall said.
The three didn't set out to land in the same spot as their former employer, but when the building became available to lease, it seemed the ideal fit.
"It was something that none of us saw coming," Hall said. "It just worked out our way."
Having a building already set up as a pharmacy saved the group at least $30,000 in renovations, Hall said.
But they still have the inside makeover as part of the rebranding. The only similarities with the Rock Hill Pharmacy are the faces and location, Hall said. In addition to prescription drugs, the pharmacy also sells medical supplies and other items.
"I feel like I'm back at home again," said Crouch, the head pharmacist. "I feel like I'm getting back in touch with my customers. I feel like this is where I belong."
Customers of the old pharmacy had prescriptions transferred to other locations, including larger chains. But the level of personal service Crouch offered couldn't be matched elsewhere, one customer said.
"She's so professional and treats everybody equally, just like that's the only customer she's got," said Jimmy Sims, 67, a customer for four years. "It makes you feel good."
Customer service is really the only thing any business sells, Sims said.
"They certainly do have that service," he said.
So far, around 80 former customers of Rock Hill Pharmacy have transferred prescriptions to Palmetto Family Pharmacy. Hall, Alion and Crouch are glad to serve them again.
"We're excited to be back," Hall said.