Prescription Shop
Pueblo CO

8 - Prescription Shop - PH

Recently Celebrated a 50th Anniversary!

Prescription Shop is a family owned pharmacy, which just celebrated 50 successful years this past month. Jim Sajbel Jr. has been involved with the store his entire life and was proud to flip burgers and hot dogs for his patients and guests at the recent 50-year anniversary celebration. We spoke with Jim about his history, the history of the pharmacy and his relationship with IPC.

IPC:

How did you get involved with Prescription Shop and started in the pharmacy profession?

Jim:

“I worked all through grade school, middle school and high school here at the pharmacy. I was the delivery guy, janitor, pretty much everything. This was before computers, so everything was done on paper. My father has been the owner since he bought the store in 1969. He worked 9-8 every day and the family all pitched in to make it work.

We stayed in the first location for 20 years. It got to the point where it made more sense to buy a building and across the street was a 7-11 building that was for sale. He made an offer and they took it so we moved across the street as soon as our lease was up. Over that weekend we managed to move the entire store across the street and reopen on Monday. We’ve been here at this location for 30 years.”

IPC:

Has the neighborhood changed a lot since then?

Jim:

“The community has changed but it’s still an amazing clientele. They’re not only customers but also friends. They know us and we know them; we greet them by their first name when they come in. They all mention that they appreciate us and they receive better treatment than they do at the chain stores.”

IPC:

What would you say is your biggest challenge as an independent owner?

Jim:

“The challenges are the same every year but keep increasing with third party reimbursements, Medicare Part D plans, and DIR fees. Slowly we’re finding other income sources and we’ve been able to affect our DIR fees through the Gerimed program that came to us through IPC. We are still staying afloat but it gets more and more difficult every year.”

IPC:

I know you worked for IPC for quite awhile before you went back to the pharmacy, but what did you do before that?

Jim:

“I worked for 25 years for Pharmacist Mutual, an insurer for pharmacies and pharmacists. I eventually moved to IPC, I really enjoyed my time there. I thought I knew everything there was to know about pharmacy but once I got to IPC I was a little humbled by finding out all the things I didn’t actually know. It was an eye-opening experience and the people at IPC were amazing. As nice as it is to be back in the family business, I do miss the people and the work at IPC quite a bit.”

IPC:

How was your recent grand opening event? It was a big anniversary to celebrate!

Jim:

“The event was incredible, we had about 300 people total. There was a lot of word of mouth promotion, and the mailers IPC sent out were very helpful. We grilled out and everyone wanted a free hamburger so that turned out great. We cooked 200 burgers and probably the same number of hot dogs. We had a DJ, and people were lined up across the parking lot. The mayor came and declared it ‘Jim Sajbel Sr Day’ so that was fun. I can’t thank IPC enough for everything they provided.”

IPC:

How has the store changed over the years?

Jim:

“One of the things my father is very diligent about is inventory control. We are not one of those stores that is heavy on inventory because it just doesn’t make sense financially.

We are increasing sales in the CBD area, we bought from Ananda through IPC. We will probably focus more on the smaller milligram products because they sell better than the more expensive items, but it is working out well. The salves have been very popular, and we’ve reordered them at least a couple times now.

Over the years we have become known as the diabetic specialists in the area. My father spearheaded the effort and helps patients with diabetes issues. We also have a preceptor program with the University of Colorado and they send a student every six weeks to help patients with checking levels, checking glucose and giving diet and exercise advice. It’s been a great hand in hand project. Current and new patients utilize the program and it’s brought us several new patients. My father was actually honored with Preceptor of the Year from NABP (National Association of Boards of Pharmacy) a few years ago. The students that come in are able to administer shots, which has really helped us in how many people we can help.

We are also doing a lot of business in diabetic shoe fitting, I’ve recently been certified in fitting diabetic patients for shoes. The reimbursement is great on that. We’ve also been doing a lot more flu shots than we’ve done in years past. I went around and talked to long-term and residential care facilities that needed that service and we’ve been able to help them a lot as well.  Slowly we are gravitating towards things that won’t be clawed back with DIR fees, so we are basically trying to ride out the storm.

I can’t thank IPC enough for your legislative efforts, your warehouse offerings, and so much more. We are able to see so many benefits through your team and your caring for the pharmacies. I value my time with IPC more than I value any other time in my career. The depth of knowledge is unbelievable.”

IPC:

Anything else you’d like to highlight about your store?

Jim:

“Jim Senior has worked hard for many years to navigate the changing pharmacy industry over the last 50 years and still remain successful and profitable. He’s maintained a positive outlook the entire time and is truly an inspiration.”