Hobbs Pharmacy Celebrates 50 Years Serving Brevard
By Space Coast Daily // March 23, 2014
ribbon cutting ceremony today at 11:30 a.m
ABOVE VIDEO: Pharmacist Jessica Beal talks about “Meds Made Easy,” a prescription compliance program offered by Hobbs Pharmacy in Merritt Island, Florida. It syncronizes a patient’s medication refills to allow once a month filling, thereby increasing compliance and convenience for patients and caregivers.
BREVARD COUNTY • MERRITT ISLAND, FLORIDA – Hobbs Pharmacy on Merritt Island celebrated 50 years of service to the local community with a Grand Opening of the Gary and Pat Hobbs Community Room this month.
This 600 square-foot room adjacent to the pharmacy was designed to host community organizations such as diabetes and mastectomy support groups as well as other civic clubs.
The Grand Opening will included a ribbon cutting ceremony at by the Cocoa Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, featuring Sheriff Wayne Ivey.
RELATED STORY: Sheriff Honors Hobbs Pharmacy On 50th Anniversary
Hobbs Was Go-To Place For Space Workers In ‘64
Hobbs Pharmacy began dispensing medication in 1964 when pharmacist Gary Hobbs put out his shingle, and the Merritt Island institution continues to thrive in the same location in its North Banana River Drive storefront.
Like an old-fashioned general store, Hobbs was go-to place for space workers who needed health supplies and household items.
“It was stacked to the ceiling,” remembered Mark Hobbs, who was 6 years old when the store opened.
General merchandise, toys, postage supplies – the business still houses a U.S. Postal Service outlet – were at hand. Mark Hobbs is in touch with many longtime customers, including one from the very early days.
“He likes to tell the story that he even once bought an ax at Hobbs Pharmacy,” Hobbs said.
True to its Space Coast roots, the company created a space sickness remedy for use on the shuttle. Today, there are still greeting cards and the odds and ends you need to pick up, but the inventory has evolved. “As the area grew, we grew,” Hobbs said.
The company developed specialty services, a reputation for having hard-to-find medical equipment, and service to niche markets. “That’s how we’ve survived and prospered,” Hobbs said.
Meanwhile, other independent pharmacies have been squeezed out of business by competition from larger companies.
“We made a decision a long time ago not to compete with Walgreens or Walmart, but to specialize in niche services,” Hobbs said.
RELATED STORY: ‘Meds Made Easy’ Innovative Approach To Rx Refills
Business Areas Hobbs Continues To Develop Includes:
• Compounding. Hobbs operates a clean room where technicians create medications in forms that are easier for patients to ingest. The sector specializes in veterinary medicine, producing medication that’s tailored to a pet’s needs. Flavorings and forms can be modified so there’s no more trying to hide a pill in a can of dog food. Hobbs works with veterinarians to develop specialized medications for a variety of animals, creating liquids, treats, and gels for transdermal applications.
• Medical equipment. Walkers, wheelchairs, braces, compression hosiery are among the many products stocked. Hobbs has a reputation for the place to find that hard-to-locate item. Referrals even come from other pharmacies, which send customers to Hobbs for products they don’t have, Hobbs said.
• Wellness services and consulting. In-store services include blood pressure and blood sugar readings, diabetes monitor training, patient education and more.
• Nursing home services. The business sector is a natural customer for Hobbs’s ability to offer unique packaging and customization. Bubble packaging helps patients administer individual doses.
Hobbs offers delivery service to nursing home clients, of course, but also to individual homes. Deliveries start at 9 a.m. and continue to 9 p.m.
Loyal Clientele & Entrepreneurial Spirit
Hobbs maintained that personal service while developing new revenue sources. He learned the entrepreneurial spirit from his father, who was good at reading the needs of the market and trying new things.
“We didn’t have to seek corporate approval. We just tried it to see if it would work,” Hobbs said.
Mark Hobbs grew up sweeping the floor, making deliveries and doing other odd jobs for the company. That was when SR 520 became a dirt road at SR A1A, and back-to-school shopping meant a trip to Orlando. He was the only one of his siblings to pursue pharmacy as a career, graduating from the University of Florida in 1981.
Gary Hobbs and his wife, Pat, retired 25 years after starting the business. Though customers thought he’d have trouble letting go, he quickly adapted to traveling in the motor home and working a small orange grove on North Merritt Island.
The pharmacist team now includes Hobbs, Eric Russo, Lisa Bauman and Jennifer Beal. The company employs 33 people.
Hobbs and his wife, Kim, have been married for 20 years and have two children, Garrett, 15, and Alex, 13.