“I had only been on the job for two months when CVS bought the local pharmacy and announced they were closing it,” Linda Baxley explained at the Light The Fire Workshop in Nappanee, IN last week. She was talking about the efforts of the town of Middlebury, IN (population 2,956) to keep a key retailer in town in 2003.
“Most people wouldn’t think much of driving 12 miles to Goshen to the closest pharmacy, but for our Amish citizens that 12 mile ride in a buggy is a half day trip. We knew that for their sake and the betterment of the town that we had to try to keep that pharmacy open. They only gave us two weeks notice of closure, so we had to move fast.”
Baxley marshaled the resources of the entire town; got petitions signed and even lobbied CVS headquarters in Rhode Island. She also got the local media to report the story, which resulted in an AP story going out across the nation with a David (Middlebury/Amish) vs. Goliath (CVS) theme. It didn’t take CVS long to dispatch a vice president to the town to study the situation.
Despite being located in what CVS deemed a “doll store” sized building, the company announced plans to keep the store open. Recently the company announced plans to build a new store with a drive-up window in Middlebury. Linda didn’t explain if the drive-up was for cars or buggies, but either way it is another win for a small town.
Sometimes you’ve got to fight for your town, using whatever resources you can.