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RedSail Technologies recently partnered up with the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) to present the 2022 NICE Awards. The NICE Awards showcase the best of the best in community pharmacy branding and marketing. This year, three PioneerRx pharmacies won three respective NICE Awards in the following categories: Best Community Engagement, Best Internal Modification, and Best Delivery Vehicle.
Today, we hear from the winner of the Best Delivery Vehicle Award, Table Rock Pharmacy.
Michael Stout is a designer by trade and a pharmacy aficionado by chance. When he started his career, full of fervor and plenty of artistic potential, Michael didn’t expect his path to lead him to pharmacy. But as fate would have it, that’s exactly what happened.
It all started with a store that was a staple in the Morganton, NC community. Just down the road, Michael’s in-laws owned and operated Table Rock Pharmacy for 30 years.
There, they offered care and customer service to Morganton’s 16,000 residents.
But when it came time for his in-laws’ to retire, Michael and his wife, Jessi, weren’t ready to let the family business die. Jessi, a pharmacist herself, swooped in to buy the store and keep Table Rock’s legacy alive. Michael went with her.
Michael knew that making the move to pharmacy would mean tackling an entirely new industry. But he didn’t know that, in the process, he’d find a new outlet for his passion.
He made the leap of faith anyway.
In the early days, Michael spent his time learning the ins and outs of the pharmacy.
He explains, “We bought the pharmacy in 2019, and we’ve been running it for right at 3 years now. For the first two-and-a-half years, I just came into the store and worked a few days a week, doing bookwork and marketing. But then it got to the point that I wanted to do more.”
After getting familiar with the pharmacy, Michael started strategizing how Table Rock could be more innovative and interesting to patients. He jotted down a few ideas, a few of which incorporated his interest in design.
But to make the changes, he needed to go all in.
So, in October of 2021, Michael explains, “I started doing pharmacy full-time. I help out with purchasing, accounting, HR, maintenance, and of course, marketing.”
Three years later, Table Rock Pharmacy has reached new heights. Under Michael and Jessi’s leadership, Table Rock Pharmacy has expanded into new areas of service and reached new patients. With a strong team by their side, they’ve managed to keep the same quality of care that Morganton residents have always counted on.
Michael explains, “We stay pretty busy. We average between 400-500 scripts a day… We have a pretty robust med sync program. We do adherence packaging for a lot of our med sync patients and a couple of small group homes. We do all the vaccines we can. We do compounding, and we do delivery.”
That last service, delivery, proved to be especially important for Michael — both professionally and creatively. Table Rock had offered delivery services before, but when Michael and his wife took over, he emphasizes, “We just wanted to go all out.”
In the beginning, Michael’s team did deliveries themselves. In the middle of busy days, they’d have to stop what they were doing, strap in their seatbelts, and make drop-offs all across town.
But when Michael decided to up the ante on delivery, he knew he had to make some changes.
To start with, Michael hired a new delivery driver to help the team. And luckily, he found the perfect fit.
He explains, “Our driver is a retired gentleman [named Dave], who is salt of the earth. He’s a really great guy. All of our patients love him.”
After finding Dave, Michael decided to spruce up the pharmacy’s 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid. To stand out from the crowd, Michael knew a simple delivery car wouldn’t be enough. He wanted something that was eye-catching, accessible, and appealing to people of all kinds.
So what does a designer do? Design something themselves.
Michael found a local business that could wrap the car for him, then started planning his design.
He explains, “I wanted the wrap to be attractive from a design standpoint, but I also wanted it to really push our messages and our services.”
For the design itself, Michael settled on a monochromatic blue wrap that incorporated some of the car’s original dark blue color. On the front half of the car, he used a Google Maps-inspired overlay displaying the Table Rock logo and “Free Local Rx Delivery” text.
On the back half, he incorporated playful pharmacy icons — including pills, bottles, syringes, and bandages — to bring an extra touch of character to the design. And on the rear of the car, he added a “Custom Compounding” sticker to promote another one of Table Rock’s core services, along with their contact information.
In total, the wrap ended up being $2,300 — but for Michael, it was worth every penny.
With the new design, Table Rock Pharmacy started seeing more delivery orders. Today, Dave does upwards of 20 deliveries per day, which usually cover between 50 and 60 miles in Morganton. But the Prius gets 30-40 miles per gallon in town, and 60 on the road, so often, it pays for itself. Deliveries in town are free, and surrounding counties can get their prescriptions delivered at a small fee.
More prescriptions mean more patients, and more patients mean more profit.
But, for Michael, the new design is all about promoting the pharmacy’s services and earning rapport out on the roads. He says, “Any time the car is out, people see it and associate us with being the pharmacy of Morganton.”
He goes on to say, “I think [getting your name out] is really important. A lot of the time, the stuff we do doesn’t have a real, direct ROI or a real, identifiable result. But it does create awareness… And it lets people know that we’re at the forefront of pharmacy in the community.”
For Michael, getting their name out doesn’t just stop at delivery.
He emphasizes, “I’m constantly looking for events in the area that we can go to and promote our services to really push people to transfer. We do a lot of Facebook advertising. We keep our social feeds pretty robust… We still dabble in some radio, and I’m exploring doing some Hulu ads this year. I’m always trying to stay on top of new outlets for advertising.”
With local events in particular, PioneerRx makes connecting with patients even easier.
Michael says, “It’s great with PioneerRx, too. When we’re on the road, we’ve got laptops with VPNs and we can remote into the pharmacy to get access to the whole database. That’s one thing we didn’t have when we bought the business with our prior software system. So [PioneerRx] has been really great.”
To learn more about PioneerRx and our mobile delivery capabilities, click here.
Since he got started at the store three years ago, Michael has seen his efforts pay off. Table Rock is as busy as ever, and patients keep on coming in. That’s exciting enough, but winning a NICE Award hasn’t been bad, either.
Michael exclaims, “We were pumped [to win the award]. It was super exciting for me. In my other years of doing design work, I’d won other awards, but it was cool to combine the two careers together and take home an award for the design I did.”
With a new award alongside him, Michael is even more energized to continue making Table Rock the best pharmacy for miles around — and carrying on the 30-year legacy.
He’s passionate about helping other pharmacies expand their reach in the same way.
Michael says, “I know it can be tough. We’re in a unique situation because my wife’s a pharmacist and I have a marketing and design background. I have the time and effort to put into [marketing]. But a lot of people don’t have that luxury. You can pay a lot of money [for other companies to do it for you]. But I don’t think that’s the greatest stuff. The stuff that really matters is the organic stuff — the stuff that you can do.”
So what can you do?
If you’re looking to up your marketing game, Michael suggests trying 3 things:
1. Invest in social media — Don’t take a “cookie-cutter” approach to social media, but post real and relevant content your patients want to see (Take a look at Table Rock’s Facebook page to draw inspiration).
2. Boost your Google Reviews — Ask cashiers to give happy customers a patient review card with a QR code linking to Google Reviews. To learn more about advertising your business on Google, check out our blog.
3. Update your signage — Try to keep your stuff updated once a month so that patients “aren’t looking at the same stuff over and over again.”
Marketing is an investment of your time, energy, and effort, but it’s an investment worth making. Whether you’re tackling a new delivery service or just making some simple changes in your store, your efforts can (and will) make a difference.
As Michael puts it, “Everything you can do, even if you don’t think it’s working, it’s probably working. Do what you have to do to get your name out there.”