Payless Family Pharmacy celebrates 20th anniversary

By | November 29, 2013 12:00 am

Alan Tatum prepares for the celebration of two decades in business.

Alan and Joyce Tatum are celebrating 20 years of business at Payless Family Pharmacy, the only locally owned pharmacy in Sparta.
The Tatums are excited to celebrate two decades of business with the community. There will be an open house 1-4 p.m., Dec. 6, 2013. Grocery certificates will be given out every 30 minutes during that three-hour span. The first 200 people to arrive will receive goodie bags, as well. Refreshments will also be available. The grand prize will be a 51-inch flat screen TV. Every prescription is an entry into the drawing; pink slips in the drawing will have a barcode indicating what prescription has been drawn.
The Tatums came to Sparta in 1977. Although they lived elsewhere for awhile, they missed their Sparta home. After completing pharmacy school, the Tatums traveled across Tennessee, interviewing various opportunities. Although they had more interviews to the east, they found Sparta and said, “This is home.”
“We fell in love with the area and with the people,” Alan said. “This is where we wanted to raise our family.”
The pharmacy was something the two had dreamed about for a long time. They had intended to begin sooner, but Joyce developed breast cancer. Once Joyce went into remission as a cancer survivor, they began their journey.
“We started out pretty much on a shoe-string, and we grew very, very rapidly. We had three employees, counting myself, to start out,” Alan remembered.
Payless Family Pharmacy began at the Sparta Shopping Center with one storefront and 3,000 square feet. Within eight years, the business had vastly grown, resulting in the doubling of their square footage. They later opened a second location in Cookeville. Once they had the opportunity to build two years ago, a new Sparta location was constructed.
“We try to keep our money in White County,” Joyce said. “We consider ourselves White Countians, and we try to keep it all here.”
The Tatums invested in White County with the construction of their new location. Alan believed in giving back to the community that had given so much to his family.
“When we built our building, I told the builder, ‘If it’s within a certain percentage of cost, I want you to use local labor,’ because when we built two and a half years ago, the economy was still in pretty bad shape,” Alan said. “So I told the builder, ‘I want to do my little part to help put White County back to work.’ I probably could have saved 10 or 15 percent on building this building, but it was more important to me to put White Countians to work. For the most part, we were able to get local labor and materials.”
Alan and Joyce have the business set up as a corporation. Their daughter, Jennifer, is part owner, as well. The Tatums plan to retire and allow Jennifer to buy the business, continuing their family-oriented values. Alan wants to thank Sparta.
“We really appreciate Sparta – the openness, the hospitality, the loyalty of so many customers who have been with us since day one,” he said. “We’re so grateful for that, and we just want to give something back. We whole-heartedly support the community because they have supported us.”

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