Magazine article Drug Topics

Turning from Owner to Employee

Magazine article Drug Topics

Turning from Owner to Employee

Article excerpt

Transforming from an independent store owner to a chain pharmacist is a trying experience. I know-I recently went through this ordeal. I sold my small chain of four stores to a large company, and I know many pharmacists who have taken similar action.

Over the past 20 years, many independent pharmacies have closed or merged with their chain counterparts. As owners, the R.Ph.s who ran those stores spent their time buying, hiring, merchandising, repairing, nurturing, marketing, and doing many other things to make their businesses a success. Active in clubs, boards, and organizations, these entrepreneurs were an important segment of their communities. Now, with their stores gone, they are just employees.

There is a new set of rules to be followed. No more, "I think I'll do it this way." Or, "It's OK to charge, she'll come in later to pay." Or, "Here are a few pills to last you until you get to the doctor, Mr. Jones." With employees, you can no longer say, "It's all right if you come in a little late, Mary. Just work a little later." Or, "Come on gang, it's slow tonight. Let's close early." Sound familiar?

Giving up the authority and decision-making that comes with ownership can be a big blow to one's ego. To compensate for this loss, some former independents have used their entrepreneurial abilities to venture into other types of business, often working for chains. Thus, they have the best of both worlds-obtaining health insurance and other benefits and continuing with a business of their own.

I know one New Yorker who runs a dog-breeding and kennel business with his wife. Another former independent from western New York has ventured into politics. Some teach at local colleges and universities. Two full-time Florida R.Ph.s formed a temporary agency for pharmacists; they even supplied R.Ph.s to the chain they work for. An enterprising former owner in Buffalo opened a small chain of discount greeting card shops. …

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