If you’re considering starting your own pharmacy, opening a second location, or relocating your current business, then you have most likely considered where you would like to place your pharmacy. The type of setting you choose is even more critical to your pharmacy’s success, since it can enhance your practice, or even impede it.
Below are the common location settings that independent pharmacies normally gravitate to. Which one is right for your store?
A freestanding building is about as independent as an independent pharmacy owner can get when looking for a location. You own that property, so you have the freedom to create the pharmacy of your dreams on the inside and outside. Real estate is usually a good investment, but when situations demand expensive repairs or additions, you will be the one responsible for the costs.
Building your practice amongst others in the medical field is a smart opportunity to build your patient base. This close proximity also presents options for collaborative practice agreements and closes the communication gap between patients and their providers. Depending on the type of hospital, clinic, or medical arts setting you choose, you may need to adhere to their policies and protocols, and any changes you want to implement may need to be approved first.
Busy patients appreciate the convenience of their pharmacy and their grocery store within the same location. This setting also allows you to make more OTC and diet-related recommendations for your patients. Michael Matovich, pharmacist and third-generation owner of Columbus IGA Plus, operates Stillwater Family Pharmacy within his family’s grocery store. “The community really looks to us for advice,” Matovich says. “The days when our local clinic is closed, those are some of our busiest days because our patients come to us for knowledge.”
Be mindful of the possibility that the rise of online grocers is currently affecting supermarkets, which are being bought out or closed.
Like the supermarket, a pharmacy within a shopping center is a patient convenience and a boost in customers for you and the neighboring tenants. Your fellow retailers may even complement your pharmacy’s unique services. (In one instance, a pharmacy with a large number of sports medicine patients may benefit from setting up in a shopping center with a sporting goods store.) If you choose to lease a space within a shopping center, be prepared to invest a lot of money into property you do not own, and you will have limited say when issues such as parking availability, signage, or with your neighbors arise.
If you’re still not sure which setting is best for your practice, then ask for help! Just because you’re an independent pharmacy doesn’t mean you should pursue ownership alone. Reach out to other independents, especially those who have set up their pharmacies within the setting you may be considering.