Wellness Pharmacy
Sacramento, CA

202002-Wellness-Pharmacy

Wellness Pharmacy held a grand opening celebration in November 2019 to welcome neighbors and community members to their store in Sacramento, California. IPC recently spoke with Harpreet Gill, pharmacy owner, about his store, how he got started in independent pharmacy and the challenges he faces.

IPC:

What is the history of the store and how did you get involved?

Harp:

“We opened in May of 2019. I’ve been a pharmacist since 2013, I used to work for a big chain but decided to open an independent pharmacy in 2015. That pharmacy was nearby, about 15 miles away, but I changed locations because my family and I moved to a different area and this location was closer to our home.

I’ve been in the pharmacy business since I graduated from college, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. After working in the chains for a couple years you learn that some of the things you learned in school kind of goes out the window. The pace is so quick, and the customers don’t really get the attention they need. I wanted to be able to spend more time with each customer and make sure their needs were met. The chains are so busy, you lose the one-on-one contact. In an independent pharmacy you can do things the way we were taught in school and do things more effectively. Helping the patients is the most important thing.”

"Being able to focus on the customer and work in a slower paced environment is much more pleasant.”

IPC:

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

Harp:

“The chains are cutting back on technicians, cutting back on hours and putting so much pressure on the pharmacists. It’s not fair to the patients. Being able to focus on the customer and work in a slower paced environment is much more pleasant.”

IPC:

What are some of the challenges your pharmacy has faced?  

Harp:

“The biggest challenge is the reimbursements these days. A lot of insurances, even in a low-income area can be challenging. Also just advertising and getting the word out. Letting the community know what services we provide is important and it takes time to get the word out.”

IPC:

How has IPC assisted your pharmacy?

Harp:

“We had a really good turnout at our open house, we appreciate IPC’s support. We had time to talk to the customers and it was perfect timing since we had been open for a couple months. People knew we were here, so they had a chance to come and check things out.

IPC has been very supportive. I’m still learning the different things you provide but your staff has been very helpful. I’d love to check out the Independent Pharmacy Conference, but it can be difficult getting coverage at the store. I am hoping to come for part of it at least because it definitely sounds worthwhile.”

IPC:

What is the surrounding community like? Is there a lot of competition?

Harp:

“There are plenty of chains around us and a couple independents as well. It’s a pretty competitive environment but so far, we’re doing pretty well. It’s a lower income area and there’s a big need for free deliveries. The community also really appreciates our customer service, it’s something they really value.”

“Free delivery is a big feature that we are proud of. We also provide blister packaging which many of our customers appreciate."

IPC:

What other services or features would you like to highlight about your store?

Harp:

“Free delivery is a big feature that we are proud of. We also provide blister packaging which many of our customers appreciate. It helps them stay compliant with their medications. Also, our outstanding customer service is a big feature. We make sure we follow up with doctors and we don’t keep our patients waiting for a long time. They are our number one concern so we do everything we can to keep them happy.”