Senior businesses

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 27, 2011

By Joanie Morris
For the Salisbury Post
CHINA GROVE ó Andy Caudill chats with a customer, laughs at jokes and takes blood pressure. Itís a typical day for the Price Pharmacy manager and just a few of the many functions he performs daily.
All have earned Price Pharmacy one of the few door stickers proclaiming them a ěSenior Friendly Businessî by the Rowan County Council on Aging.
Bob Bruce, president of the Rowan County Council on Aging, said the designation is a way for the council to recognize businesses in the county that exceed the expectations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, recognizing businesses that model leadership for serving older adults and those with disabilities. The council certifies that the business ěnot only responds to the accessibility needs of individuals, but also exhibits worth, value and respect by making them a part of the team through employment,î says a press release given to businesses that may qualify for the designation.
ěWeíve got a big population out there of folks who are in their senior years,î says Bruce. In fact, by council estimations, there are more than 25,000 seniors living in Rowan County. Thatís 25,000 potential customers that a business can reach by becoming designated as ěsenior friendly.î
Bruce said the Senior Friendly Business designation is a major emphasis for the council and a program theyíve been developing for a couple of years before opening the program for all businesses to apply.
In addition to Price Pharmacy, other businesses currently designated as Senior Friendly include Arey Realty, Bayada Nurses of Salisbury, Beaver Brothers, Comfort Keepers of Salisbury, Gentiva Home Health, Home Instead Senior Care, JJís Construction, Oak Park Retirement Center, Salisbury Animal Hospital, Smart Choice Senior Transitions and Victory Wealth Management.
ěThe Council on Aging is looking for things we can do to make life easier for seniors,î adds Bruce. ěWe thought itíd be a good opportunityî for the council and for local businesses.
To apply, a business downloads an application form and sends it with a non-refundable $50 application fee to the council. The business then goes through an evaluation, which includes on-site visits to evaluate the office and business practices, as well as the website. The visit is by appointment.
Each business is provided with the assessment tools, or a checklist, prior to the visit. If the business needs more preparation before the visit, the council will work with the business to help prepare it for the evaluation.
Auditors look at things such as the parking lot, entrance, location safety, the employees, Web services and location, depending on the type of business applying.
Once the business is deemed a Senior Friendly Business, it will receive a framed certificate, certification letter, window decal, print logo for business mailings, a news release sent to the Salisbury Post, promotional listings with other Senior Friendly Business designees, ongoing support from the Council on Aging and the eligibility to become a Business Associate with the Rufty-Holmes Senior Centerís business marketing program.
ěWeíre trying to make it so that businesses will want to bring in the senior population which is growing all the time,î says Robin Perry, vice president for the council.
For Andy Caudill at Price Pharmacy, itís just the next step in providing all customers with everything they need. With services such as blood pressure checks, a drive-thru pharmacy, wide aisles, competitive pricing and free prescription delivery, Caudill says itís a no-brainer for the pharmacy to be on the list.
ěIn my opinion, being in the pharmacy business, you have to be senior friendly,î he says. The pharmacy has been designated as a Senior Friendly Business for a couple of years, and goes through a renewal process and follow-up interview to keep its status.
ěWeíve had several customers who have noticed the decal on the door,î he says. There are even a few who joke with him about the designation.
Pat Tyson says Price Pharmacy is the perfect senior-friendly business, with the drive-thru and free delivery offerings. Competitive pricing doesnít hurt either, for seniors on a budget.
ěI like the fact that you come over here and you get your prescription in less than 10 minutes,î says Tyson. ěIt always drove me nuts when Iíd be sick and have to wait two hours.î
She lives less than a mile from the pharmacy and sees herself using it for the convenience for the foreseeable future. The pharmacy is great for her.
There is no charge for the Senior Friendly Business certification program information packet, so contact Rufty-Holmes Senior Center at 704-216-7714 to request further information.
Joanie Morris is a freelance reporter for the Salisbury Post. She can be reached at 704-797-4248 or news@salisburypost. com.