Yosemite Drug 
Coarsegold, CA

San Joaquin Drug
Planada, CA

201909 - Yosemite Drug Profile

Two Family Owned Independent Pharmacies Thriving in California!

Yosemite Drug and San Joaquin Drug are family owned pharmacies in California. Katie Bass has taken over one location and opened another, with the goal of keeping independent pharmacies alive. Her father, Mike Bass, introduced her to the world of independent pharmacy at a young age and she’s done an amazing job of continuing the legacy. We spoke with Katie about her history, the history of the pharmacies and her relationship with IPC.

IPC:

How did you get involved with the stores and what’s your pharmacy background in general?

Katie:

“Yosemite Drug is actually my second pharmacy; the first pharmacy was San Joaquin Drug. My dad (Mike Bass) opened that one in August of 2000 when I was 14. I started in the pharmacy as a clerk and a delivery driver, eventually working my way up as I was going to school. I went to pharmacy school at UH Hilo in Hawaii. I graduated in 2014 and moved back home and started working as a pharmacist; in 2015 I took over being pharmacist in charge. In 2019 I officially took over San Joaquin Drug and opened Yosemite Drug.

I saw a great opportunity with Yosemite and I went for it. There was a pharmacy there before that sold to a chain, they were closed for a year and then I reopened the location. Basically, I started from scratch but there was previously a pharmacy in the same location.”

IPC:

Have you always planned on working in independent pharmacy?

Katie:

“It was always a dream of my dads to have an independent pharmacy. He worked in chains for many years, but he got tired of it and wanted to open his own store. I grew up in that environment and it seemed like a natural thing for me to go into. I love pharmacy, I love helping patients and I was just really drawn to it.”

IPC:

What would you say the biggest benefits are of working in independent pharmacy?

Katie:

“At our pharmacy we know our patients by face and by name. We know what they are looking for when they walk in and we greet them and can help them immediately. We have a consistent staff and they all have a strong relationship with the patients.

We can offer free delivery, bubble packaging, we can call the insurance companies for them, and more. We consistently go above and beyond what the chains can and will do. When people come in to pick up a prescription or a refill; I hear all the time that the chains will make them wait a day to come back and pick it up. When you have a sick kid that needs their medicine that’s just not acceptable. You would never experience that here.

I always encourage people who have relied on chains to at least give independent pharmacies a chance, no matter where they live. The quality of care is incomparable.”

IPC:

Are there any special services you’d like to highlight about your stores?

Katie:

“In our new pharmacy we have free delivery. We have an OTC section and we offer brand and generic medications. We are working on getting compounding set up so we can start to offer that soon. We do med synchronization and some MTMs.”

IPC:

Is it a small community?

Katie:

“It’s a pretty small town itself but the outlying area is expansive. It’s a mountain town so there are a ton of people who live in the foothills and there’s a large housing development nearby called Yosemite Lakes Park. The town itself is pretty small but once you include the outskirts the population is larger.”

IPC:

How did the recent grand opening event go at Yosemite?

Katie:

“It went really well, we had a great turnout. We worked with a few local businesses nearby to group together and celebrate all at once. We had a ribbon cutting and it was fun. We really appreciate the support from IPC.”

IPC:

How had your overall relationship been with IPC?

Katie:

“I really like IPC a lot, we have been ordering a lot from your website.”

IPC:

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

Katie:

“Probably the same struggle that everyone faces; the PBMs and the reimbursements. Having to lose money on prescriptions is difficult. It’s frustrating, we recently lost $400 on one claim from a patient’s prescription. It’s a weird business because even if you’re doing well you might not be making the money you expect to.”

IPC:

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

Katie:

“One thing I’d like to get out there is that I know some patients are scared that independents won’t stay afloat; especially if they have gone to an independent before and it’s closed. I just want to say that we aren’t going anywhere. Independent pharmacy is important to me, it’s what I grew up on and I understand the value of it. I plan on being here and sticking it out no matter what. I want to be there for my patients on their healthcare journey and support them through it.

The quality of life as an independent pharmacy owner, as opposed to working in a chain, is totally different and definitely worth fighting for.”