By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH - Independently owned pharmacies can be flexible, personable and creative and that's exactly what shopping at Perkins Pharmacy is like in Vero Beach.
Edwin Perkins, pharmacist and owner, emphasizes the importance of individualized service to his customers on a daily basis.
For more than 20 years, clients have been treated like family, greeted by name and helped as quickly as possible.
"You're not a number here. We know our regulars by name and we try not to make people wait too long," Mr. Perkins said.
The pharmacy routinely places orders that arrive next day and often makes deliveries to physicians' offices and clients who have trouble leaving the house. Extra employees were hired to be able to make the deliveries a regular part of client care.
"We don't have the hours of a chain drugstore, but our customers understand that and don't mind, but they value our personal service," Mr. Perkins said.
Emergency services are also available, he said.
Perkins Pharmacy honors most insurance companies, including Medicaid, Medicare and worker's compensation.
Though the wait time at Perkins Pharmacy may be relatively short, customers can still squeeze in a little browsing for unique gift ideas in the store.
Dee Dee Perkins, Mr. Perkins' wife, handles the gift shop side of the pharmacy and chooses high-quality items she would feel comfortable giving as gifts.
"We have an order book behind the counter for drug-related orders and we have on for gift-related orders," Mrs. Perkins said.
"We want to carry unique gift items you don't find often in stores. We have more boutique items than drugstores usually carry and we have different lines, with limited quantities so you're not going to see it anywhere else," Mrs. Perkins said.
Collegiate-themed bags, plates, candles and more dominate one aisle in the shop, while summer colors brighten another area and rhinestone-detailed leather purses and wallets are the focal point in another area.
Mrs. Perkins looks for quality gift items made in the U.S. and whenever possible, she brings them into the store.
Cindy Stillwagon is the designated gift consultant for the store. She often helps customers choose gifts based on information about the person receiving it.
"We also offer free gift wrap all year round. A lot of places don't do that anymore," Ms. Stillwagon said.
Perkins Pharmacy is located at 4015 20th St., Vero Beach. For more information, call (772) 453-2161 or (772) 978-6470 or visit www.perkinsphar.com.