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Customer service paramount for local businesses

Grocery stores and pharmacies use delivery to reach older customers

Staff writer

Home delivery is a thing of the past … except in Marion County.

Service is a common theme for Marion County grocers and pharmacies.

Ron Hedrick does deliveries every Friday for Peabody Market. He delivers about 12 orders, worth between $20 and $40, to Peabody residents. Hedrick has also taken care of frozen food, dairy, and the bakery at Peabody Market for the last 26 years.

“You’ve got to take care of (people) who can’t get out,” owner Rick Turner said. “I’ve got ladies I’ve sold groceries to for nine years that I’ve never seen. They call every week. Somebody’s got to take care of them.”

Ken Krehbiel makes about five deliveries of prescription drugs a day in Peabody for Don’s Drug Store. Don’s does not charge extra.

“It’s just kind of a service that we’ve always provided,” Krehbiel said. “We get a lot of positive comments.”

Marion Health Mart Pharmacy has been delivering prescription drugs for 31 years. Marion High School students working at the pharmacy make between eight and 10 deliveries 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. daily in Marion. The pharmacy provides its delivery service for no extra charge. “Not a penny,” head pharmacist and owner Marlin Buchholtz said.

“Just for a service,” Buchholtz said of the reason for the deliveries. “The majority of our deliveries go to the elderly. All we ask is the customer be home.”

Yvonne Hill, of Marion, is a recipient of deliveries from both Marion Pharmacy and Carlsons’ Grocery store. She has been receiving deliveries for eight years.

“I’m in a wheelchair. I can’t get down to pick up my prescriptions,” she said. “I appreciate it a great deal. In the case of the pharmacy, I don’t know what I’d do if they didn’t deliver. The pharmacy in town has gotten to know me; I can just say I need my prescription and they send it out.”

Carlsons’ Grocery of Marion delivers on Tuesdays in Marion. Delivery driver and frozen food section manager Melissa Ramsey requests that orders be called in by noon so she can do multiple deliveries at one time. Orders average about $40, and she delivers between six and 13 orders at a time. Some orders are as small one two items or as big as 30 items.

Carlsons’ charges $1 per delivery.

“We’re a small community,” Ramsey said. “We take care of each other.”

Laurel Gilbert, of Marion, has had her groceries delivered by Carlsons’ for the past three weeks.

“This is much more convenient for me,” she said. “I could do it if I had to. It’s very difficult for me to see. I’m legally blind.”

Vogt’s Hometown Market and Dale’s Supermarket in Hillsboro make grocery deliveries in Hillsboro every day for no extra charge.

Owner Todd Vogt said his grocery store averages about 10 deliveries a week of about $30 an order. They do ask people to keep an order above $10 to make the deliveries worth the time for delivery driver Gerald Ediger, who is also the store’s produce man.

“It’s just a service,” Vogt said. “We moved away from downtown. We do it to be helpful for our older customers.”

Dale’s Supermarket sets no limits on their deliveries.

“We just ask them to think about our end,” owner Dale Franz said. “It is pretty expensive to run a vehicle.”

Franz, who does the deliveries himself, says the amount of deliveries varies day to day. Both Franz and Vogt said that tipping is unnecessary and Franz even said that it is a practice he discourages.

“They usually try to tip, but I don’t ever accept it,” he said. “It’s something I just do for elderly people who can’t get out.”

Greenhaw Pharmacy, in Hillsboro, charges $1 for deliveries. Greenhaw delivery drivers — mainly Tabor College students who work in the afternoons — escort prescriptions and over-the-counter medications to customers. Certified technician Colleen Miller estimated that there are four to eight deliveries a day.

“It’s a good community service,” Miller said. “In some instances, it’s almost vital. Some people really rely on it.”

Last modified April 22, 2010

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