Friday, April 09, 2010

This Was Not Well Thought Out

OK, let me give it to you straight. You want to start a pharmacy based on Catholic values? Cool. Don't want to sell contraceptives or cigarettes or dirty magazines? Go for it. Contraceptives make up 10% of an average pharmacy's revenues, but you can make that up with a good business model.

But for heaven's sake, don't open your business in a young, relatively socially liberal area within a stone's throw of a bunch of other national-chain pharmacies, or you're gonna go broke.

I grew up about a mile from this store's Chantilly, VA location, and I'll vouch for a couple of things. Northern Virginia may be pretty heavily Christian, but it's not the Bible Belt either. People there don't care about these conservative-Christian issues the way people in more conservative bits of the country do. Hell, even the devout Christians at my high school tended to hate on the Falwell-Robertson crowd as much as I did. My point is that NoVans aren't gonna sacrifice convenience to patronize a Christian-themed business - they're just gonna swing by the CVS on the way back from the kids' soccer practice. So you have to rely on visibility and drop-in business, not just word of mouth. And with that in mind, the location is shit. It's tucked in a shopping center well out of view of both Route 50 and Centerville Road (the two main roads in that area). Unless you're going to the K-Mart next door, you're not going to just run into it... and what's more, there's a CVS with a much better location in that same shopping center, not to mention the other CVS about a mile up Centerville.

So if anyone wants to whine about how the failure of this business is proof of some liberal plot against Christians, or if anyone wants to gloat about how this proves Christian-themed pharmacies are doomed to fail, just keep in mind that this particular case isn't well-suited to drawing conclusions about the larger business model. You can't locate your business in an invisible location in a demographically unsuitable area and expect it to succeed. Somewhere else, such a pharmacy might succeed.

1 comment:

Matthew B. Novak said...

Location x3.