A Commitment to Community
Remembering Brad Stapley
With a history spanning 40 years, Stapley Pharmacy had already left its mark on the St. George community long before Brad Stapley filled the shoes of ownership, taking over were his parents – Evan and Faith – left off. He greatly expanded the pharmacy’s involvement in the community while also growing the family business with the help of his parents and his wife, Jana.
His passing was a surprise both for his family and the community. A bizarre avalanche accident ended his life prematurely in the mountains of Utah. The outpouring of support from the community was a great reminder of all the lives he had touched in the community and through his work as an independent pharmacy owner.
After purchasing the pharmacy from his parents, Brad realized that community engagement was far reaching and had the potential to really make a difference. Unlike most community pharmacies, he hired a full-time director of education whose primary duties were to schedule lectures, prepare and disseminate educational material and manage all community engagement.
Each willing pharmacist who worked for Stapley Pharmacy was also sent to Toastmasters International to learn how to speak in public effectively. Now they regularly speak on a variety of health-related topics. Stapley Pharmacy has four locations and each engages with the community in their own way.
Owner, Jana Stapley said that “community engagement includes multiple community boards, participation in the Arts to Zion tour where our Bison “American Trailblazer” is on display. They also present over 80 lectures a year which include local and statewide requests, a mentoring program for women and multiple scholarships for youth and advancing college students.” The pharmacy is also involved in senior lectures, parades, back-to-school events and University sponsorship.
This connection to the community was felt strongly by the Stapley family after Brad’s passing. Initially the community decorated both the Stapley family homes and the front of each store. A GoFundMe account was also established for the family. “Over 1,000 people turned out for a fabulous candlelight vigil, where the Stapley “American Trailblazer” bison became a memorial lit with candles, NOS (Brad’s favorite drink), banners, balloons and a University of Utah flag, which draped the bison’s neck,” Jana said. “Purple ribbons were seen on many cars and people would see one and honk and point and wave. It was very sweet.”
This tribute was seen by Jana and her daughters everywhere, allowing them to see just how many people Brad reached with his efforts. More than 2,000 ribbons were distributed throughout the community.
When you learn more about the efforts Brad was behind, you begin to further understand this level of support.
He was also involved in helping children in middle and high schools understand the risks of prescription drug abuse and educating them about illicit drug use. This included the installation of two take-back boxes where in one year 500 pounds of unused medication was deposited.
The pharmacy was also recently honored for its support of the local Doctor’s Volunteer Clinic, which provides vouchers that patients can bring to the pharmacy to receive assistance with medications at a reduced cost. Some Stapley staff even witnessed Brad pay for the patients’ medication out of his own pocket.
“We only lose patients when we stop taking care of them; when we stop putting them first,” said Kelli Charlton, Stapley Pharmacy Director of Education and Community Outreach. “We believe that there is enough business for all of the pharmacies in our community; we call this friendly competition. Most important is putting the patient first which keeps them coming back.”
The expansion of the business started with the creation of a non-retail pharmacy, C3, which services all of the Southern Utah Home Health, Hospice and long term care facilities with both packaging and delivery. This facility recently added a double sterile compounding room. Brad and his father Evan continued the expansion with an additional location near the dinosaur museum in Washington City, UT and then a third in the rural community of Enterprise, which serves several small farming and ranching communities in Southwestern Utah and Eastern Nevada.
And though much of what Brad, his family and staff strove to provide in the communities they served was unique, the challenges they face as a pharmacy are common. Regulations, PBMs and DIR fees are as much of a headache for them as any other independent pharmacy. They have worked closely with their State Representative Chris Stewart to work toward changing the industry for the better.
They have also worked with IPC regularly, which allows them to be a part of the largest independent-owned purchasing group in the U.S. Working with IPC allows them to benefit in the success of the company as well as enhance the success of their pharmacy.
Stapley Pharmacy is the most recent recipient of the Most Valuable Pharmacy Award, which for them was a powerful reminder of the influence they and other pharmacies have in their communities. It provides a platform to speak up about regulatory reform and collaborate with law-makers on issues that affect all community pharmacies face.