Local stimulus plan infuses economy with $2 bills
Published 6:27 am Wednesday, February 25, 2009
By By Kerry Whipple Bean
Danny Cottrell has created a $16,000 “country boy’s stimulus package” for Escambia County, and he expects a big return on his investment.
The Medical Center Pharmacy owner and his partner, Tom Henderson, have given each pharmacy employee an envelope of cash — all in $2 bills — with two requests: They have to spend it locally, and they have to give 15 percent to charity.
Cottrell delivered the envelopes to employees during a Monday evening meeting. “They got all teary-eyed and they were squalling,” he said. “They were very appreciative.”
Nineteen employees at the Brewton Medical Center Pharmacy and five at Greenlawn Homecare in Atmore received money.
Employees have already begun making plans for the money — some will shop for clothes, meals, even new eyeglass frames and tires, Cottrell said.
Carolyn Kennedy, who has worked at the pharmacy since 1986, said she, too, was stunned by the gesture.
Employee Elaine Wilson said, “Santa Claus came early” for the staff.
Wilson said she might even mark each of her bills with “MCP” so that anyone who receives one will know it came from Medical Center Pharmacy.
In fact, the marking of bills helped spark the unique idea for Cottrell. Several years ago, he said, he saw a story about a mill that gave cash to its employees, with each dollar stamped with the mill’s name so people in town would know the impact of spending locally.
Two-dollar bills — rarely seen in circulation — seemed just as easy a way to keep track of the cash, he said.
As for the money itself, Cottrell said he wanted to help his employees — and his community — especially with talk of a national stimulus plan during the recession. “I tried to apply it to my employees and my community,” said Cottrell, who called his bonus plan a “country boy’s stimulus package.”
Cottrell said he hopes the infusion of money will help the local economy as well as his employees.
Cottrell said his wife Karen already has plans spending their share of the money in local stores, and they will also give 15 percent to Hope Place.
And Cottrell said he hopes his act of kindness will spur someone else in the community to do the same.
Still chattering Tuesday about their plans for the money, Medical Center Pharmacy employees had a simple answer for why Cottrell would design such a creative thank you to the staff and the community.