MERRILL - Big name stores dominate many small towns. But in Merrill, one store owner thinks bigger isn't always better.
Forrest Young owns Hometown Pharmacy in Merrill.
At the end of last year, it moved from Main Street to East Second Street.
The new spot isn't far from the old one, but it has on-site parking and a drive-through.
That makes it convenient, just like big chains.
But Young says he offers something different.
"The main thing is customer service. We know that vast majority of our customers by name when they come in here," he says. "We've had instances in the past where people switch over, and they're just taken aback by how quickly we learn their names and treat them as if they've been coming to our pharmacy forever."
Hometown Pharmacy moved into Merrill about three years ago.
The store attracts a lot of seniors, but Young hopes the new spot will attract a new crowd.
"People that prefer a Walmart, Walgreens type of experience are younger, they prefer being able to get in and out quicker, do some shopping while they're in there," Young says. "So we're hoping that with the middle school and the grocery store, we'll attract some of the younger customers, that we can grow with them, as well as make it easier access for our older customers."
Young was renting the Main Street store, but bought this building.
He says he plans on being in Merrill for a long time.
RHINELANDER - A snow storm caught Hanson's Garden Village in Rhinelander off guard last weekend and collapsed a greenhouse. Now that spring weather is here, Hanson's is ready to move forward by making some adjustments. "We got by for 25 years doing what we were doing," said Hanson's Garden Village Co-owner Brent Hanson. Last weekend's spring snow storm set back Hanson's. "We thought we were ahead of schedule having that greenhouse nice and filled," said Hanson's Manager Beth Hanson.
"One bad storm and there you go. Things happen," said Brent. The storm collapsed a greenhouse holding thousands of plants. "For years we've gotten by with these lighter cheaper green houses," said Brent. "We'll be down a greenhouse for a little bit here," said Beth. Now Hanson's will only use sturdier and solid greenhouses so that collapses don't become a pattern.
RHINELANDER - Oneida County needs more foster care homes. Right now, there are nine licensed foster homes in the area, most of which are full according to the county's social services department.
Foster Care Coordinator Rachel Nelson says that in Oneida County there are 24 children currently living in foster homes. The department participated in a statewide foster care recruitment project last fall, and discovered just how great the need is.
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