Bi-Mart Changes?

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SamSpade
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Bi-Mart Changes?

Post by SamSpade » October 9th, 2017, 9:24 pm

So today I was in the Beaverton Bi-Mart store location and noticed a few things:
1. The pharmacy walk up window was covered over. . . then I noticed the pharmacy was blocked over with shelving. Inside nothing is posted but on the walkup window outside, they sold all the pharmacy records to CVS inside Target, which is basically across Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway.

Earlier this summer when I needed a fairly common prescription, the Bi-mart here was out and they had to send my prescription over to the "Aloha" (south of Hillsboro, west of Beaverton) location.

2. The store's ceiling is really starting to look bad. That winter clearly did no favors for the roof. They are probably going to have a "leaky" winter.

So, I was wondering if Bi-Mart suddenly got out of the pharmacy counter business, but looking at most of their locations, they do still all have a pharmacy. The only other location I saw without a pharmacy at a quick glance is the distressed Aberdeen, Washington store.

(Not sure which category to put Bi-mart into. I think of them as a multi-department store, but a lot of their focus has always seemed to have been on pharmacy https://www.bimart.com/departments)

storewanderer
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Re: Bi-Mart Changes?

Post by storewanderer » October 9th, 2017, 9:31 pm

Didn't they open a new store recently? Did the new store have a pharmacy?

I remember back when Rite Aid bought Thrifty/Payless (which included Bi Mart), they did not retain Bi Mart for long despite that it had a pharmacy operation.

I wonder what is going on... some smaller chains have been having challenges making pharmacy profitable due to the various changes the past few years, lower reimbursements, combined with a lot of higher drug costs (somewhat offset by some new generics that came out)...

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Re: Bi-Mart Changes?

Post by Alpha8472 » October 10th, 2017, 12:44 am

If the pharmacy has many low income patients such as those on government funded Medicaid, then the pharmacy could be in serious debt. Those insurances pay very little reimbursement and in most cases you lose money on every prescription filled.

The corporate office probably looked at the profits for the pharmacy and realized that the pharmacy was losing money and decided to close it down. If a pharmacy does not have a common drug in stock, it could be a sign that the pharmacy is in serious trouble. They are probably not ordering any new drugs and are just using up all the drugs until they decide to close down the pharmacy.

This is the new reality these days. Pharmacies lose money on government funded low income Medicaid. The only way to make a profit is by getting more middle class or upper income customers who have private health insurance that actually pays decent money for prescriptions. The sad thing is that these discount stores attract low income people with money losing insurance plans. That is why many pharmacies are losing money and not making a profit. Target pharmacies were losing money due to the high number of low income patients on Medicaid. Even Walmart is having issues with pharmacy profitability.

If Bi-Mart wants to survive they have to become more active at pursuing higher income customers to the pharmacy. One example is going after Senior citizens. Often senior citizens have insurance that actually gives the pharmacy a good profit. Vaccinations also bring lots of money to the pharmacy. If the pharmacy does not offer vaccinations, they are losing a huge amount of money and potential profit.

If the pharmacist is just sitting there doing nothing, that is not a profitable pharmacy. There should be a line of customers at all times, and there should be prescriptions constantly being filled.

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Re: Bi-Mart Changes?

Post by kr.abs.swy » October 10th, 2017, 7:44 am

For what it's worth, they announced plans to build stores in Kuna and Star (suburbs of Boise) earlier this year: https://boisedev.com/news/2017/5/26/bi- ... -locations

One of the articles about the Kuna store said that it would have a pharmacy: https://www.kunamelbanews.com/news/plan ... 0d0df.html

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Re: Bi-Mart Changes?

Post by Super S » October 10th, 2017, 1:18 pm

For what its worth, that location was clearly something else beforehand. (I think it was discussed either here or on Groceteria) Inside it actually looks like a pretty old building. Almost old enough to make sense to rebuild instead of remodel (although they don't do much in the way of remodels to begin with but do occasionally build new replacement stores)

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Re: Bi-Mart Changes?

Post by Super S » October 21st, 2017, 7:20 am

I did a search for a news story or anything indicating why the pharmacy closed. Since Beaverton is basically a suburb of Portland, I am not surprised that a pharmacy closure didn't generate a news story.

Bi-Mart to me seems like a healthy chain which has been adding a few stores here and there, most of which are new-builds, but they do occasionally take over existing buildings such as Beaverton, as well as Orchards in Vancouver which is a former PayLess Drug. Another in NE Portland is a former Marina Safeway. They are slowly expanding into Idaho.

As I said before they do not really do much in the way of remodeling except for updates to lighting, new paint, etc. The basic store design and layout has not changed a whole lot over the years. One store they built as a replacement is the current Lincoln City store.

Bi-Mart strengths have been in sporting goods, automotive, home improvement/hardware, and they have some good deals on canned groceries. Pharmacy always seemed to be doing well and they have health and beauty situated nearby. They often advertise the pharmacy including the walk-up window in the coupon books they send out.

I have to wonder then what is really going on here. Is this Bi-Mart in general not doing as well? Or just the pharmacy? The fact that the prescription files were transferred to CVS/Target instead of another Bi-Mart almost hints that this location could end up closing instead of being rebuilt/remodeled. I will say though that every Bi-Mart store I have been to had a pharmacy.

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Re: Bi-Mart Changes?

Post by SamSpade » October 31st, 2017, 7:35 pm

Guess I should have listed my original post under department stores. The Bi-Mart in Kuna, Idaho is preparing for opening (November 9) and already has an enrolment tent set up for prospective members (yes, it is a "membership" store but they are pretty low key in many locations). They call themselves a 'multi-department store.'
Oregon retailer Bi-Mart to enter Treasure Valley with three stores, the first opening next month

They have secured a lease on the Caldwell Paul's location, which will be opening in 2018. Good. Downtown Caldwell lost a local drug store and King's a few years ago before that chain completely shut down this year and I think a store like Bi-Mart will be well positioned to fill in some shopping habits there.

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Re: Bi-Mart Changes?

Post by rwsandiego » October 31st, 2017, 9:55 pm

My very first business trip was to Bi-Mart's then-parent in Seattle as a very junior loan officer. After the senior loan officer and I grew tired of poring over their Byzantine financial statements (they were owned by a holding company that was controlled by two South African diamond merchants that also owned a drug wholesaler and distributor called Northwestern Drug) we started talking about their membership model and how we could not imagine paying a fee to be able to shop somewhere. Sam's Club and Costco had not yet landed in Chicago and Memco (the name for Gemco east of either the Rockies or the Mississippi) had folded. My, how times have changed!

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