Parkside Pharmacy: A Symbol of Pharmacy
Randy Gerhart of Parkside Pharmacy in Lafayette, IN is a second-generation pharmacist and the owner of the only pharmacy left in the city that used to be home to more than 20 pharmacies.
Parkside Pharmacy was started February 14, 1967 by Randy’s father. Both father and son graduated from Purdue University and Gerhart’s own children have attended or are currently studying there.
“My original plan was to play in the NBA, but that didn’t work out,” Gerhart said.
Gerhart was already working at the family store by the age of 16, making deliveries after receiving his driver’s license. It soaked in that he’d run the store as he neared the end of his high school career, by college he was about 99 percent certain. Despite his certainty he was still sought out by a chain pharmacy but declined to take that path.
“It worked out well for me,” Gerhart said.
His two daughters, along with that local Purdue graduate are now next in line to take up the mantle. One of his daughters, and a local Purdue graduate work as pharmacists and his younger daughter works as a pharmacy technician.
“I guess you could say it’s going to take three people to replace me,” Gerhart said.
The pharmacy is expected to fill more than 100,000 prescriptions this year and is expanding. Gerhart is doubling the size of the building by having a whole second floor built to keep up with the demand of their services.
“This is our 52 plus years in business,” Gerhart said. “Now we’re on our third generation of pharmacist here.”
When the pharmacy started with Gerhart’s father was filling out far fewer prescriptions, but wasn’t facing the challenges of today.
“I’m the only one (independent pharmacy) in Lafayette today, so there’s a lot of challenges, but we provide services that the chains don’t,” Gerhart said. “I think we do a public service.”
Among the services offered are free delivery and special packaging. Gerhart also does some work with medical equipment and braces. He is a certified fitter and employs a certified prosthetic fitter. This accounts for about 3 percent of his business.
He has been growing his staff, and just added another technician. In the last year and a half he has added two technicians and a pharmacist. He has four full-time pharmacists and seven full-time technicians.
“On just special packaging alone we probably have somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 patients … that’s a big growing sector,” Gerhart said. He explained that’s what the second floor will be for.
Fortunately, his challenge with space was a solvable challenge; his main challenge, PBMs and DIR fees, is not.
Despite these challenges he finds the time to help the community. He has helped sponsor Home of Hope, and a community help clinic in the past. He also works with programs that help indigent people and has worked with the local psychiatric hospital. His efforts help people get on and stay on medications.
“If you keep people on their meds they stay out of trouble and stay out of jail,” Gerhart said.
Among other things, he also regularly donates over-the-counter items to the athletic department at Purdue.
“When you go into the medical field, you should be going in to help other people,” Gerhart said.
When his father was still in the business he won the Bowl of Hygeia award. It recognizes pharmacists who possess outstanding records of civic leadership in their communities and encourages pharmacists to take active roles in their communities.
“Those were the things he taught me,” Gerhart said.
It’s why he has taken in college students, participated in health fairs and gone to schools to speak with students. For Randy, it’s a philosophy of leaving the world a little bit better than how he found it.
IPC is among the groups that makes it possible for Gerhart to continue operating and grow in his community. Having groups like IPC offers another alternative and better generics pricing.
Gerhart said that the more alternatives he has to shop around with, the better. He said, “IPC has given me another avenue for purchasing.”