Small businesses continue to thrive in todays economy

Hayes Barton Pharmacy in Raleigh has built its nearly 90-year legacy on staying true to its customers and its past.

Madeline Gray—North State Journal
Diane Rupert

RALEIGH — It’s National Small Business Week and communities across the state and nation are celebrating the successes and challenges small business owners endure as well as the value of these businesses to the economy.According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 27.9 million small businesses in the United States with more than 820,000 of those located in North Carolina. Small businesses create two out of every three new jobs in the United States with 50 percent of the working population employed by small businesses.One such successful small business is the Hayes Barton Pharmacy in Raleigh, which has been operating since 1929. Known for their personalized approach, comparable prices and convenient location in the Five Points neighborhood, the pharmacy has been a popular spot for decades.”We’ve stood the test of time by trying to get to know the name and face of every customer,” said Jerry Cobb, staff pharmacist. “We have an extensive delivery service in the neighborhood and customers seem to appreciate the personal touch.”While the retail pharmacy industry has changed, the company’s phone number and philosophy have remained consistent since its establishment.”There is a lot of competition in the pharmacy business today, but a little extra touch of getting to know your customers is something you don’t get at the big retailers,” said Cobb.Many of the pharmacy’s customers are taking multiple medications. Cobb and his fellow pharmacists work with customers on keeping their orders on track, having one pick up time a month when all orders are ready, and establishing payment methods.”It all goes back to knowing your customer and how best to assist them,” said Cobb.Many in the community and surrounding neighborhoods would argue that while the old pharmacy is indeed beloved, it’s the attached cafe also holds a special place in their hearts. A long-time haunt of old Raleigh residents, the Hayes Barton Cafe has evolved from a simple lunch counter serving malts, orangeades, grilled cheeses, and their famous chicken salad, into a sought-after culinary stop for folks from near and far. Working hand-in-hand with the pharmacy – honoring the past and only updating gently when necessary – is what has helped this small business stand the test of time.Small businesses similar to Hayes Barton Pharmacy can be found in communities across North Carolina ranging from neighborhood pharmacies to clothing and furniture stores to coffee shops and more.Chamber of Commerce organizations in North Carolina counties are offering activities, events and programming to celebrate Small Business Week. The Wayne County Chamber of Commerce is offering free learning sessions on social media and grant developments. The Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce is holding a small business expo. Residents seeking information on small business events in their communities may check with their local Chamber of Commerce.