Local pharmacist Cottrell’s $2 idea catching on

Published 12:45 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2009

By By Kerry Whipple Bean

Pharmacist Danny Cottrell was hoping his local “stimulus package” would spread $2 bills across the Brewton community.
He didn’t realize the idea would inspire individuals and businesses across the country to contribute their own acts of generosity.
In February, Cottrell gave his employees at Medical Center Pharmacy envelopes filled with $2 bills to spend in the community, with two stipulations: Spend the money locally, and give 15 percent to charity. He jokingly called his idea a “one-man stimulus plan.”
Since then, newspapers, TV networks and industry newsletters have picked up the story, giving Cottrell publicity across the country — and sparking some stimulus projects along the way.
Two other Alabama pharmacies, one in Adamsville and one in Sylacauga, mirrored Cottrell’s plan with $2 bill packages to their employees.
Brooklere said the pharmacy was hoping for some goodwill and some publicity from the project, but he didn’t realize just how touched customers and residents would be.
Employees have enjoyed their personal boon, he said, and local businesses come to expect to be paid a certain way.
Other businesses have adapted the $2 bill project in other ways. A Missouri online dealer sends a $2 bill with every order. On their blog, owners John and Marian Kramer, who make Kramer’s Best Antique Improver, said they learned about Cottrell’s program from a news story.
The Xpress Lube and Car Wash in Benson, Ariz., celebrated its business’ anniversary by rewarding one customer a week with a refund on the amount of their service. Owner Terry Celentano told the Benson News-Sun newspaper he was inspired by Cottrell’s story on NBC Nightly News.
The owner of Collier Drugs in Fayetteville, Ark., reimbursed his employees for 50 percent of their purchase if they bought from local businesses and if the owner of those businesses were customers of the drug store.
At least one individual who was inspired by Cottrell had a direct impact on Brewton.
Vincent Tullo of Virginia was so impressed with the $2 bill idea that he sent a $1,000 donation to Hope Place, the recipient of several Medical Center Pharmacy employees’ 15 percent share of their $2 bill bonus.