Bogle Street Pharmacy (Somerset, Kentucky)

12 - Bogle Street Pharmacy - PH

Old-fashioned values and service set Bogle Street Pharmacy apart from the competition!

Bogle Street Pharmacy is a full service pharmacy open five days a week. Convenience and service are paramount. The store is a traditional retail pharmacy offering everything you come to expect from a pharmacy. Some of their many services include incredible pricing, free delivery, and call-ahead compounding. IPC recently spoke with pharmacy owner, Amy Scott about how she got started in independent pharmacy.

IPC:

Could you tell me a little bit about the history of your pharmacy, and your involvement with the store?

Amy:

“We are a new, independent compounding and retail pharmacy. There was another independent in our location that sold out to Walgreens three years ago, and the building has been sitting empty ever since. I bought the building and reopened it.

Before we opened a pharmacy, my husband and I used to rehab and sell houses as a side business, and so we did the build-out entirely on our own. It is non-traditional, as we used the wood from an old barn in our county. It has an old-time apothecary feeling, which we intend to match with old-fashioned values and service.”

IPC:

What is the most rewarding aspect of working in the independent pharmacy industry?

Amy:

“As a business owner, I like to do my own branding. There is nothing quite as rewarding as being an independently-owned business. While I am a Health Mart franchise, the style, feel, and focus of our store is completely different from any regular pharmacy. Patients comment on the unique interior when they enter our store. Every store needs a little something that makes it memorable. There is a lot of marketing clutter out there. How do we stand out from multi-million dollar marketing budgets used by the chain pharmacies? A guy named Seth Godin popularized the idea of the Purple Cow, meaning, you have to do something new and unique that is outside-of-the-box in order to stand out.

Now, I’d argue that providing excellent customer service in today’s pharmaceutical environment is a purple cow. So I’m building on the idea of having several purple cows in order to build-up a pharmacy from scratch. We offer compounding, free delivery, and very personal service. Instead of making the patient call their doctor or insurance company for a medication problem or discrepancy, I tell them, “Sit back and relax. I’ll take care of it for you.” This is a very different experience they are receiving in comparison to the chains.”

IPC:

Why did you choose to be an independent pharmacist?

Amy:

“I’m actually not a pharmacist. I’m the owner, and I’ve hired a pharmacist to run the day-to-day operations. I think this approach serves us very well. Since I’m not a pharmacist, I am free to be out in the community pulling in business and focused on marketing, customer acquisition, and margins. My pharmacist can do what she loves — meeting with and following up with patients — while I can focus on what I love, which is running a business.

Marketing is somewhat difficult to measure, but hands down, our best conversion rate has come from Facebook. People are more likely to trust a friend who shares a post than a random postal mailer. I’ve done radio, newspaper, door hangings, doctor’s office coupons, balloons, banners, and food delivered to physician offices. The response conversion rates combined from all other sources is not even close to the conversions from Facebook.”

IPC:

What are some of the challenges your pharmacy has faced?

Amy:

“Once people experience our service, it is not hard to keep them as patients. However, I vastly underestimated the challenge it would be to get people to switch over from the chains. I got the idea for our slogan when I drove by a long line of cars waiting at a nearby chain. It reads, simply: Stop waiting in line. We’ve only been open one month, so the jury is out on whether this slogan will be effective.

Even when people bring in a new insurance card and rx, it can take a few minutes to process. So I start a conversation with them while we fill. When something is wrong I tell them that we are going to call the doctor for them and fix it so they don’t have to. This is something I try to instill into my staff, and when we are busy solving their problems, make sure you tell them that we are solving their problems. It looks like we are shuffling paper and ignoring them, but their attitude turns to gratefulness when we explain the things we are doing to fix the insurance or coverage issues they’re having. People like that. Getting word-of-mouth referrals takes time.

Every new start-up has the pain of money going out with little to none coming in. We are right on track with where we should be at this point in the process, but the biggest challenge is relaxing. We have a lot of great things in the pipeline, but I’d say the hardest part is sitting back and waiting for the magic to work.”

IPC:

How has IPC assisted your pharmacy?

Amy:

“IPC has helped my pharmacy by assigning me a fantastic account director. He has answered all my questions with depth and patience. He is also great about following up in a timely manner. I’m learning that not all sales reps are equal and that a great liaison can make or break my business. So in that respect, IPC has been a great asset to my pharmacy.”