How do you go up against mega pharmacies like Walgreen’s, CVS, Duane Reed, and Rite Aid? You stick to principles you’ve held dear for 75 years.
“We have a business relationship with the people,” says Hudacko’s Pharmacy partner Peter Halecky. “We offer good service to friends, family, and their friends. We support the Little League and the soccer team. Customers are soccer parents and Little League parents. You won’t see CVS or Walgreen’s on the back of a Little League jersey. We keep our money where our bread gets buttered.”
Halecky and partner Brian Host are part of the original Hudacko family. Halecky’s grandfather, John Hudacko Sr., bought the business 75 years ago from Leo McGinnis. “He lived upstairs and would come down in the middle of the night to get medicine for a customer,” Halecky says. “The philosophy here is about patients, not market share.”
But Hudacko’s is no mom-and-pop store. It employs more than 30 people and two years ago moved from 876 to 861 Broadway because they needed more space. Hudacko’s also has a sophisticated marketing plan and the latest high-tech management systems.
In the front of the store, they sell a range of gift items, including Yankee candles, Crabtree and Evelyn products, unique jewelry, greeting cards, purses, wrapping supplies, balloons, and toys. “Not Toys ‘R’ Us toys,” Halecky says. “Quality wood toys, not cheap plastic.”
Obviously, a lot has changed over the last two decades. “There’s a lot of red tape and regulations and more medications on the market,” Halecky says. “There’s the danger of drug interactions and getting the wrong medicine, and the billing of insurance is a complicated business.”
The solution? Robotics, of course.
“We are a soup-to-nuts pharmacy with a state-of-the-art robotics system to handle work flow,” Halecky says. “The system tracks prescriptions, who handles them, checks for drug interactions, and bills for insurance. It’s checked multiple times before proceeding. At the end of the process, it’s counted and labeled by a robot and then finally checked by a pharmacist. There are a minimum of two pharmacists along the assembly line.”
It’s a system the original Hudacko would probably endorse. “We have unparalleled patient safety that meets all federal requirements,” Halecky says. “Pharmacists can consult with patients, call doctors, and not worry about pouring pills into bottles.”
Hudacko’s is the perfect combination of the traditional and the cutting edge. “We have the newest up-to-date equipment, but we’re still the corner drug store,” Halecky says.
He cites an example of the town’s community spirit. During Hurricane Sandy, they needed a generator, and the only place that had one was another time-honored, family-owned business, Resnick’s hardware store.
With the generator from Resnick’s, Halecky says, “We were able to stay open all week after the hurricane and provide prescriptions for people all over town.”
MS. HUGUETTE’S DANCE STUDIO
OK, ladies, I know a lot of you will remember as a kid taking your tap-and-ballet lessons, wearing your handmade multi-colored, dollar-store-quality costume for the recital, knowing there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that you are headed for the Bolshoi.
Well, a lot has changed since then. Just ask the identical twin sisters who run Ms. Huguette’s Dance Studio—Christine Thomas and Nadine Novello. The sisters inherited the business from their French-born mother, Huguette, a professional dancer, who settled in Bayonne in the 1960s and started the studio 20 years ago.
“My passion is teaching, which was instilled in me by my mother,” says Christine, the studio’s director, who has a master’s degree in dance and dance education from New York University.
The studio’s dance program offers classes in creative movement, ballet, pointe tap, jazz, lyrical, freestyle, voice, musical theater, and hip hop. The last is especially popular with boys. Students start at age three and go through the teens.
“Our philosophy is to instill a sense of confidence and self esteem in a nurturing environment,” Christine says. “A good dance education program includes anatomy, history, improvisation, self expression and performance.”
The studio offers an intensive study group “for the serious student who would like to improve coordination and physical strength, as well as add to their dance repertory and become fluent in dance terminology,” Christine says. “This strengthens discipline, which helps students flourish in all other areas of their lives, benefiting the whole child.”
Many of Ms. Huguette’s students have gone on to become successful professionals in dance and theater. “Several have returned to give master classes, choreograph, or lecture students about the industry,” Christine says. “We are so proud of the fact that we have former students return where they received their dance training. It is a wonderful feeling that they are giving back. It gives us a real sense of community.”
In April, the sisters hosted a 20th anniversary celebration. “It was a big event to raise money for scholarships,” Christine says. “We have arrived at a time in our career where former students bring their children to us for dance class. This is one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching and why we do what we do.
“We look forward to at least another 20 years
MASSAGE ENVY SPA
211 Lefante Way
Even if you’ve never had a massage, you’ve seen the classic movie massage: glamorous women swaddled in towels, relaxing to new-age music. Massage Envy proudly offers that but it also offers something else that is worth its weight in hot stones: the customized massage. No two humans have the same stress level, sports injuries, or general body breakdown, so why should we all be treated alike?
“Massage is not a luxury but a necessity,” says franchise owner Erica Naidrich. “I used to go to Massage Envy for back problems,” she says. “I broke my femur and had a metal rod in my leg when I was a teenager. As I got older and started having children, I had lower-back issues. The massage helped more than the chiropractor or physical therapist.”
Naidrich is a CPA. “I used to work in public accounting and have a fairly decent business background,” she says. “I started to look at massage in a whole different way, from a business perspective.” Though you don’t have to be a member to enjoy Massage Envy’s, services, there are benefits to membership. Visit massageenvy.com/bayonne to learn more.
Naidrich does not live in Bayonne but saw Bayonne’s South Cove Commons as a good bet for a Massage Envy franchise.
“There are not that many massage spas in Bayonne,” she says. “There wasn’t huge competition. Bayonne is a community. People stay and shop in Bayonne. Stop & Shop is crowded. There are multiple reasons I chose Bayonne, and it’s proved to be well-received by the community.”
The customized therapeutic massage is one reason for its success. “We really want to know why they’re here,” Naidrich says of customers. “The type of massage is really specific to the individual. We talk to them as they are making the appointment to understand why they are coming here—for relaxation or are they in pain? What is the goal for the session? Based on that, we give our recommendation for the sessions.”
Massage Envy’s 20 therapists, she says, “are compassionate and caring, know the human body, and do all kinds of massage.”
Though women masseuses and clients currently outnumber men, that is changing. “The number of men is increasing,” Naidrich says. “Men work a lot, and they’re constantly complaining of shoulder and lower-back pain.”
The sports-and-fitness crowd are loyal customers. “Avid marathon runners come in pre- and post-event, and people working out, bodybuilding,” she says. People with medical problems, such as oncology patients, or those suffering from fibromyalgia or arthritis have also discovered therapeutic massage.
One of the biggest complaints? “Pretty much everyone who walks through the door has old-fashioned stress,” Naidrich says. “That’s our whole society.”
But it’s not all pain and suffering at Massage Envy. Some folks just want to relax or have a facial. “We take care of the inside and the outside,” Naidrich says.
Her Bayonne gamble has paid off. “I took a very big risk, not knowing much about the area, though I had friends who grew up in Bayonne. I’m involved with the Chamber of Commerce. I go to meetings. There are great people in town and a very supportive mayor. It’s a really nice community supportive of business. It’s been a great experience.” .”—BLP