by Matthew Christian
Shortly after 11:30 a.m. Thursday morning Well Center Pharmacy owner Marlon Orias cut the ceremonial ribbon to join the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.
Orias, a native of the Philippines, opened the pharmacy on June 5 with his wife, Marelle, after both lost their jobs when two local Rite Aids closed following Rite Aid’s purchase by Walgreens.
He said they made the decision to join the chamber to give something back to the community.
“If we go back to basics,” Orias said Thursday after he cut the ribbon, “I moved here from a third-world country. I migrated and this city’s been good to me.”
Florence, he said, was welcoming when he moved here. He said he found South Carolina’s residents to be very warm and welcoming.
He added that he had spent 10 years in Florence as a pharmacist at the Rite Aid in Five Points. Marelle spent 11 years as a pharmacist at the Darlington Rite Aid. Orias said he had raised his family in Florence and had become established in the community.
“That’s why I decided to support the chamber of commerce being a part of the community of Florence,” Orias said. “It was a way to give back.”
What sets Well Center, and all independent pharmacies, apart from the nationally known chains, Orias said, is the level of customer service.
“For us being independent, we are capable of being more personal with the customers,” Orias said.
He said the pharmacy would be more caring when it comes to filling prescriptions and the service would be more courteous.
Well Center will also offer training.
Customers will have the opportunity to participate in the Medication Therapy Management and Lifestyle Coaching Program, a health-management program sponsored by the South Carolina Pharmacy Association and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Marelle is also certified in opioid teaching.
The pharmacy also offers immunizations and will offer delivery options for the elderly.
The pharmacy is open 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. It is at 605 S. Irby St. (across from the Drs. Bruce & Lee Foundation Library). For more information, visit wellcenterpharmacy.com or call 843-799-5054.
The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce has around 600 business members. Its mission is to “Promote and enhance a favorable business climate and improve the quality of life to make Florence the best community in which to live and operate a business.”
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