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Fill prescriptions at the dollar store?

A dollar store chain has opened a pharmacy in one of its Florida stores to test the concept.

By Karen Datko Apr 24, 2012 5:24PM

Image: Pills (© Sean Justice/Corbis)Higher-income people found their way into dollar stores as the recession came crashing down. Nowadays, it's the place to go for, well, dollar store things: party decorations, gift wrap, cheapo reading glasses, reasonably priced greeting cards.


But prescription drugs?


According to the Sun-Sentinel in Florida, a Deals store -- owned by Dollar Tree and described by a customer as an "upper-class dollar store" -- opened with a pharmacy earlier this year. "Deals partnered with PharmaGo, an independent pharmacy with corporate offices in Boca Raton, to run the prescription services inside the store," the newspaper says.


While other dollar chains say they have no plans to follow suit, some retail experts speculate that pharmacies could become commonplace as dollar stores ramp up the competition with drugstore chains like CVS and Walgreens.


That got us thinking: Will people be as enthusiastic about buying prescription drugs in dollar stores? (Post continues below.)

DailyFinance raised the same question:

But as a general proposition, will shoppers really be inclined to fill prescriptions at dollar chains, which, despite their makeovers, still largely operate no-frills stores that were once synonymous with low-quality merchandise and outdated goods from other retailers?
Still, there's no denying that shopping habits have changed -- so perhaps dollar stores' low-rent image won't be an issue.

Robert Vosburgh wrote in Supermarket News, "A few readers on RetailWire noted that dollar stores -- with their reputation as bargain-priced, deep discounters -- could face challenges involving quality and trust."


What's your take? We've all read those "best and worst things to buy at dollar stores" posts, but is that an outdated image? Time had a similar post as recently as March of this year.

Its verdict? Buy school, office and craft supplies; party supplies and gift wrap; greeting cards; holiday decorations; and drinking glasses. Don't buy plastic wrap and sandwich bags, "anything with an electrical cord," cookware and utensils, jarred spices (!) and batteries. And count me in the camp that says the cheap cleaning supplies at the dollar store don't work as well as the more expensive brands.


But dollar stores have changed much in recent years, adding things like groceries and beauty supplies. And they're sprouting up everywhere. Dollar General, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree have 21,311 stores among them, and all three chains have ambitious expansion plans, Forbes says. (That story is called "Dollar stores take on Wal-Mart, and are starting to win.")


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