Magazine article Drug Topics

Independent Superstars 2001

Magazine article Drug Topics

Independent Superstars 2001

Article excerpt

Who are some of the stars of independent pharmacy, and what contributions are they making to the communities they serve? A questionnaire was polybagged with Drug Topics to wholesalers across the country, asking them to nominate independent pharmacies that shine above the rest, particularly in four areas: pharmacy and nonpharmacy services, merchandising/advertising/promotion, overcoming competition, and crisis handling.

The pharmacies made our honor roll by going head-to-head with stronger, larger chains; going out on a limb for patients; and providing services that are second to none. There's no better time than National Pharmacy week, Oct. 21 to 27, to congratulate these superstars for being the best they can be for their communities. What follows is a sampling of what some of these standouts are accomplishing.

Exceptional pharmacy and nonpharmacy services

In one corner of Harry's Pharmacy you'll find a large cabinet with sliding glass doors filled with medications, some in crude form that are at least 100 years old. Just 10 ft. away, a bank of computers occupies another area.

That juxtaposition of old and new is no accident. The mementos of the past are a very special part of this 135-year-old corner drugstore, which serves Carey, Ohio's population of 3,700. They are a tribute to owner and pharmacist Randy Myers' grandfather, who bought the drugstore in 1936. The computers, on the other hand, reflect Myers' implementation of technology since buying the pharmacy from his pharmacist dad, 11 years ago. "The automated part is the biggest change over the years, but we still provide customer service and good patient care," said Myers.

Myers said that 10 years ago, he started to think about how the pharmacy could become more actively involved in patient care. His thinking resulted in a remodeling, which included a consultation center in the "new" 2,400-sq. ft. store. "The remodeling enabled our pharmacists to be out in front of the Rx counter. We do sit down for face-to-face interaction with patients every time. This allows us to evaluate whether a patient is compliant with his or her medication and is taking it correctly," said Myers.

Dan Murphy, R.Ph., co-owner of Chelsea Pharmacy, Chelsea, Mich., doesn't think twice about providing residents of several nearby retirement communities with free delivery of any item the store carries, including milk, bread, greeting cards, and prescriptions. He also helps local schools, churches, and organizations sell tickets to their functions.

"I started working here when I was 13 years old. I saw what the community needs. We're a close-knit community," said Murphy, who has been co-- owner of the store for 52 years. Although the community has a population of 3,600, it attracts 20,000 shoppers. Of the one chain store located across the street, Murphy said, "It doesn't bother us. We offer 24-hour on-call service, blood pressure testing, and diabetes counseling."

Murphy's son, Brady, R.Ph., is manager of the store, which is being remodeled. "We are rearranging the store so it will be like new in order to increase business and give better customer service," said Dan.

In Clifton, Texas, population 3,500, independents and chains are eager to serve their community, which is home to a great number of retirees. Albrecht's Pharmacy, founded in 1968 has never stood still long enough to let the competition win. Owner Gene Albrecht, R.Ph., and his brother, Clinton, R.Ph., who joined the pharmacy in 1983, are always on the prowl for a new niche and to implement new technology.

As their nominator put it, "The Albrechts' success comes from their forward-thinking business practices, including a Web site and an automated pharmaceutical dispensing system, which is also linked to their state-of-the-art computer system."

"We do everything we can. We put in Baker cells last November. The year before, we put in a point-of-sale system. …

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