For Beacon Falls Pharmacy owner Bob Bradley, charity just makes good business sense.
Although a life-long resident of Beacon Falls, Bradley started getting more involved in the community when he opened his pharmacy five years ago.
“It’s was only once I opened the pharmacy that I saw the need for this sort of thing,” Bradley said.
Bradley, who has a background in business, and his wife, pharmacist Marion Bradley, opened their pharmacy in 2005. He said they liked the idea of owning their own business and saw a need for a pharmacy in Beacon Falls. Their partnership has been successful.
“She doesn’t touch the toilet and I don’t touch the drugs,” Bradley said.
He said both partners are very hands-on, doing as much as they can for the business themselves.
In 2008, Bradley formed the Beacon Falls Merchant Association to get residents in the mode of shopping locally.
“I noticed Beacon Falls businesses needed a little more publicity,” he said.
The association cross-promotes one another’s businesses and supports local sports teams and charitable services.
“Our main goal is mostly to support and promote our own businesses,” Bradley said.
The association’s mission is to promote growth, develop new businesses, and promote civic organizations.
This week, the association is putting together a gift for the town road crew – a new coffee maker.
“When they’re plowing the streets at 3 o’clock in the morning, they won’t have to go out of town to get a cup of coffee,” Bradley said.
Beacon Falls First Selectman Susan Cable said the gesture was very nice.
Bradley helps run the Annual Naugatuck Valley River Race and Beacon Falls 5K, which take place in May.
The race promotes Naugatuck river recreation and encourages outdoor enthusiasts to stop in Beacon Falls and patronize local businesses.
“I truly believe the Naugatuck River is the best economic resource we have in the Valley,” Cable said.
To help promote local businesses, the association created the “Shop Locally Sweepstakes.” For every $20 spent at of the association’s 30 businesses, shoppers received one entry into the drawing, which took place at the annual Duck Race. This year, James Webmore won a $2000 vacation gift certificate.
The association also sends a monthly mailer to new residents of Beacon Falls with coupons and gift certificates from participating businesses.
“[The mailer] gives folks a chance to get their name in front of people who are new to town,” Bradley said.
He said the coupons are usually fairly valuable.
Shopping locally is important to the vitality of the community. Local businesses create jobs, pay taxes, and spend their money in town.
According to Bradley, 72% of new jobs created by small businesses.
For every $1 you spend at a local business, 69 cents is reinvested back into community whereas only 45 cents is reinvested for a big box store, such as Walmart, said Bradley.
“If you’re spending your money out of town, nothing comes back into town,” Bradley said.
Bradley says he follows his own advice by patronizing local restaurants and other businesses.
“I do whatever I can to keep my money circulating in town,” he said. In turn, owners of other business come to Beacon Falls Pharmacy for their prescriptions.
Although it’s hard to quantify, Bradley thinks their initiatives have been successful.
“I think we’ve got it in their heads to think about shopping locally,” he said.
Cable said Bradley’s creativity and marketing skills have benefited all the economic bases in town.
“Bob has helped our economic development in our community a great deal…Not only is he a business owner but he finds ways to promote all the businesses, not just his own,” she said.
Bradley’s work has been recognized by other organizations.
In 2009, Beacon Falls Pharmacy won the small business of the year award from the Waterbury Chamber of Commerce. Also last year, Governor Jodi Rell presented the Merchants Association with the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce small business collaboration.
Besides running the Merchant’s Association, Bradley is involved in the Lions Club, St. Michael’s Church, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Bradley joined the Lion’s Club after Kathy Poirier called him a couple years ago about participating in the river race.
“Bob is a very fun member of the community,” said Poirier. “He brings a lot of humor to our meetings.”
Bradley holds the Tail Twister position at the club, promoting camaraderie and making sure the members don’t get too burdened with the seriousness of their work.
Bruce Angeloszek, owner of CT Electrical Services, met Bradley through St. Michael’s Church and their children’s activities and became a member of the Merchant’s Association.
“He’s a leader – that’s for sure,” Angeloszek said.
The association gave Angeloszek an opportunity to get to network with local business owners, he said.
“It gives me exposure for our local residents. It gives some type of trust to our local residents knowing that there’s a business community within Beacon Falls that is proactive with the residents of Beacon Falls,” Angeloszek said.
He said he often sees Bradley at town events and the Beacon Falls Pharmacy always opens its doors to students. Everybody knows Bradley, Angeloszek said.
“He’s a pretty good guy,” said Angelooszek. “I’ve got to tell you. He’s one of the best in Beacon Falls.”
Many weekends, the Pharamacy’s parking lot is filled by organizations running canned food drives or car washes during the summer. In fact, this Saturday, the Woodland soccer teams are running a bottle and canned drive to raise funds.
“We kind of let our parking lot be the local gathering place on weekends,” Bradley said.
Despite his involvement in many community events, and occasionally showing up at a economic development meeting, Bradley stays out of politics.
“I have my opinions and I’m not afraid to voice them, but for the most part I don’t have too much interest in getting involved in politics,” he said.
Bradley can’t help everyone.
“You have to say no once in a while. Clearly there’s more need than I have the capacity to address, but we try to help out where ever we can, especially the things that are for the kids,” Bradley said.