According to McCay, a Birmingham policeman busted two PlasmaCare donors for outstanding warrants right in front of his business. “I’m glad he made the arrest, but he had them spread eagle on his car right in my parking lot,” he says. “Now how does that look? Customers were wondering what the hell was going on. I was thinking, ‘God, this is horrible.’”
McCay contends that this sort of activity is scaring away potential customers from his shop, and he plans to take the issue to the Birmingham City Council. “The purpose is to get their license revoked so they will have to move,” he says.
A spokesperson for Grifols PlasmaCare, Inc., based in Cincinnati, Ohio, dismisses McCay’s charges. “This is not the first time we’ve heard these complaints from this gentleman,” said Chris Healey, the firm’s vice-president for public affairs, in a telephone interview. “We would be happy to sit down with this gentleman and see if we can address any valid complaints that he can raise. We feel these are unfounded and personally driven.”
Two other area merchants have their own problems with PlasmaCare. “With their clientele, it would help us all if they would move,” says Doug Stewart, service manager of Lee-Rodgers Tire Company at Fourth Avenue South and Arrington. “It upsets our customers.”
Stewart blames PlasmaCare what he says is an increase in petty crime around his business during the four years the center has operated. “We’ll park some customer vehicles in the back,” he says. “We’ve had things broken into, stereos taken, license plates taken.”
“Hopefully, the smash-and-grabs are being reported to the police,” Healey says, regarding these thefts. “I would not jump to a conclusion that anybody associated with our facility would take part in that.”
According to Jason Miklic of Birmingham Spring Service (in the same block as Southplace), several employees of local businesses have complained of verbal assaults from individuals entering and leaving the plasma center. “There have been several arrests in front of the plasma center resulting from disorderly contact and drug deals,” Miklic says.
“Any of our neighbors who have a complaint we will certainly investigate,” Healey says. He added that his firm will try to put an end to these allegations. “We will be hiring a private security guard, just to make sure that there’s no inappropriate behavior. I’m confident that none of our employees or donors are acting inappropriately.”
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