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DRUGS-ONLY PHARMACY CHAIN TO OPEN FIRST AREA OUTLET

Buffalo consumers will soon have another choice in the drug store category as The Medicine Shoppe enters the local retail market.

The St. Louis-based chain of franchise drug stores will open its first local outlet at 2142 Delaware Ave. in the Marshall's Plaza on Nov. 11. Several more sites are under consideration for additional locations, according to the company.

The local franchise owner is Nick Sheth.

George Diak, regional marketing manager for the company, said The Medicine Shoppe will offer an alternative to the huge drug superstores that have invaded the area in recent years.

"Our format is very different because we concentrate on prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, exclusively," Diak said. "You don't have to wade through aisles of garden hoses and beer to put your prescription on the counter."

Medicine Shoppe stores are tiny compared with the Walgreens, Rite-Aid, CVS, Vix and Fay's Drug outlets that currently dot the local retail landscape. The Delaware Avenue location will be just 1,250 square feet in size, compared to the 10,000- to 25,000-square-foot combination drug-grocery-variety stores that dominate the local drug market.

"Because we're small we can concentrate on prompt service and personal attention," Diak added. "In fact, if we can't fill your prescription in 15 minutes or less, we'll give you a $2 store credit."

The more than 1,000 Medicine Shoppe pharmacies across the country are all operated by franchisees who act as a giant buying group. The ability to buy in huge quantities allows the small stores to offer low prices on brand-name medicines and greater savings on Medicine Shoppe brand equivalents.

In addition to medical products, The Medicine Shoppe stores offer medication counseling, health screenings, wellness programs and health education.

"We go beyond checking blood pressures," Diak said. "It's a total health package for us; it's foot and ear screenings, and overall body fitness assessments conducted by nurses."

The Medicine Shoppe participates in most third-party and insurance plans. It also offers its own prescription assignment program and a worker's compensation program for employers and injured workers.

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