Friday, September 18, 2009

The New Social Entrepreneurs: Neighborhood Business-Owners

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Neighborhood businesses are the heart and soul of livable communities.

Larry Thomas, a second-generation independent pharmacist in Laurel, Mississippi, epitomizes the ethic that fosters cultural enrichment.

Although big box corporate pharmacies have muscled themselves into the mainstream lately with shelves stocked supermarket-style full of merchandise, owner-operated shops like Thomas Pharmacy offer to their community something that the Walgreens of the world cannot - the owner. Walk in the store and you'll more often than not find Larry Thomas himself behind the pharmacy counter dispensing prescriptions (and community wisdom) to some of the same people and their descendants that his father first served over a half century ago.

The Thomas Pharmacies of the world have an investment in their respective communities that goes far beyond economics. There is a recognizable face associated with transactions - on both sides of the pharmacy counter.

With a neighborhood business, a trip to the pharmacy is not just about getting a prescription filled. Locally owned businesses serve as community meeting places where you can actually have a real, nuanced conversation with your neighbors. It's a place where information critical to the enrichment of "community" is passed directly from people to people with a patina of humanity that cannot be found in a strip-mall world.

The new Thomas Pharmacy, scheduled open in early 2010, will offer a children's play area for waiting families and a pizza/sandwich restaurant in addition to Larry's own personally compounded hair and beauty care products.

Local owner-operators like Larry Thomas, with the mindset of "social entrepreneur," contribute far more to the community than tax dollars.

1 comment:

Rodney Pevey said...

Regarding the extra credit assignment, I can spot multiple aspects of design in the picture other than two. For starters, there is a repetition in the rectangular brick structures in the front, which are in turn contrasted by the round trees. A little variety/contrast also exists in the blocky rectangles of the main structure against the tall structure/sign reading "THOMAS". Balance/contrast exists between the compact, blocky building and the open, cloud-filled sky (both of which are held together by the aforementioned sign).

On the topic of the store itself, I hope this personal approach will help Mr. Thomas out; he seems like a good man. Not to sound like a sycophant, but great site; definitely seems like something worth checking out every so often.