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Advice from Pete Crouch
I love being a pharmacist because I like taking care of people. At Eden Drug, we’ve decided from the day my wife Debbie and I bought the store seven years ago that we would seek to do something bigger through our business for the community of 16,000 that we call home.
Debbie is a teacher, so we found ourselves drawn to programs that support literacy and education. Eden Drug has given 2,000 backpacks to kids in need. We organized a “spend local” campaign where employees were awarded $2,000 in $2 bills to spend with local businesses as a local stimulus. We regularly offer free diabetes and heart health classes to help people manage their diseases. And last summer, we celebrated the store’s 30th anniversary, throwing a party with and for the community where we gave away more than 800 hotdogs, hosted a vintage car show and offered all kinds of fun and games for families.
In response, Eden Drug has been voted the county’s favorite pharmacy for the last five years (Debbie and I have owned the business for seven years). And, we have been blessed to experience strong year-over-year growth in an environment where many independent pharmacies are struggling to maintain their volume.
Beyond the social good we seek to accomplish, it is a commitment that larger competitors cannot emulate, so it does create a competitive advantage for us. Further, with a genuine, sustained commitment to serving residents, they recognize and respond; here is just a sample of some recent feedback:
“Best Customer Service in Town! Helpful, friendly & always glad to see me when I come in. Keep up the good work!” (Bev)
“I think your meetings are extremely educational & I enjoy them so much. I hope you will continue the meetings for a long time.” (Via)
Last year, I was honored as Civic Leader of the Year in the Next-Generation Pharmacist program. It was a great experience to be recognized and honored among my peers for something so core to our business. I’d like to share some simple tips to help your pharmacy identify and embrace community investment:
1. Find an unmet local need suited to your talents and/or interests.
2. Join PDS (Pharmacy Development Services). That’s where I get a lot of the ideas for our pharmacy, including The Sweet Spot diabetes education program, free vitamins for kids, among others. They and their members always have great new ideas to share and try. (Learn more at www.pharmacyowners.com.)
3. Commit and sustain. It is not how much you do, as much as it is how long you do it. Pick a few things you and your staff can get behind and stick with it. You’ll be surprised how quickly it starts to build awareness and interest in your pharmacy.