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The Dollar Room makes cents

May 06, 2007|By PEPPER BALLARD

What began as a leftover Christmas wrapping paper sale has turned into a backroom dollar business for the owners of two southern Washington County pharmacies.

Sally and Gary Haas, owners of Boonsboro Pharmacy and Sharpsburg Pharmacy, have been selling everything from tin foil to aspirin for $1 in the backrooms of their stores for about two years.

The dollar rooms, as they're called, are a big hit among customers, Sally Haas said.

"They'll come back here while they're waiting for their prescriptions and they usually come out with at least one item," Sally Haas said.

The Dollar Room, which doubles as a stockroom, at Boonsboro Pharmacy is 1,200 square feet stocked with school supplies, notebooks, batteries, party goods, gift bags, beauty supplies, hardware, picnic accessories, cleaning supplies, pet supplies and car supplies.

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"You can't tell this room would be back here," said Sally Haas, while standing in the Boonsboro room.

The Dollar Room at Sharpsburg Pharmacy, at 17316 Shepherdstown Pike, is not as big, Haas said.

Haas started selling merchandise in the backroom of the Boonsboro pharmacy as a way to get rid of leftover Christmas items, but the customers asked her to keep using the room.

When a vendor began promoting dollar items, the Haases signed on.

The Boonsboro store started out with only a few shelves on one side of the room, but now is filled with sale items.

Haas said there are different qualities of dollar stores, and their merchandise is top of the line.

The items she sells cost the pharmacy 75 cents, but she said she's not too worried about the profits.

"We have fun with it," she said.

She said parents often will bring their children back to The Dollar Room to reward them with an item. A lot of parents shop there just to fill up goody bags for parties.

Children often bring their allowances with them to shop.

The Dollar Room has a motion sensor and energy-efficient Solatube lighting. The store itself has solar panels on its roof, Haas said.

Boonsboro Pharmacy first opened in August 1976 in downtown Boonsboro, but moved to its 7628 Old National Pike location four years later.

Haas said she holds a tent sale of the dollar items in August, and prepares grab bags filled with dollar items for $1.

In the summers, Haas said she usually holds more sales because business tends to slow down.

The pharmacy sells other items, too, although not all at the dollar price.

Both pharmacies carry Boonsboro High School Warriors merchandise.

"We try to give good service, and we have free prescription delivery to homes in Boonsboro, Sharpsburg and over in Shepherdstown," she said.

Between both stores, the Haases have 25 employees and hired no additional help for the dollar businesses.

In the first year, Sally Haas said she spent a lot of time organizing and stocking the dollar shelves herself.

"It's like owning a second business," she said. "I'm here pretty much every day."

Both pharmacies are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are closed Sundays.

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