When you walk in to Fricks Pharmacy & Mercantile, you won’t feel like you’re in a pharmacy. Surrounded by warm wood floors, decked-out displays, and an ornate gold chandelier, you’ll find yourself surprised. Instead of white-washed walls and the faint scent of disinfectant, you’ll see plenty of colors and smell a pleasant aroma.
From the front end, you might mistake Milton, FL’s newest pharmacy for a boutique — but when you see the services and meet the team, you’ll be reminded that you’re in a pharmacy that actually acts more like a healthcare destination.
And when you spend some time with Jade, Owner and “Chief Joy Facilitator” of Fricks Pharmacy, you’ll start to believe the Bible verse inscribed on the wall: “A joyful heart is good medicine.”
That’s because, for Jade Fricks, spreading joy isn’t just a mindset: it’s a mission.
As the great-granddaughter of an independent pharmacist, pharmacy goes right down to Jade’s DNA.
But even though she’s surrounded by tradition, Jade isn’t taking the traditional approach to pharmacy. Instead, at Fricks Pharmacy, she’s taking what it means to be an independent and making it her own.
Jade’s passion for pharmacy started early on.
As she explains, “I grew up around the pharmacy, and it’s really all I ever knew. I knew from a young age I wanted to go into healthcare… When I went to pharmacy school, I tried to branch out and try other areas [aside from independent pharmacy]. But I had a gut feeling that they weren’t for me.”
After school, Jade had a brief stint in chain pharmacy. It was there, she explains, “I knew that I had to pursue my dream of opening a pharmacy.”
In 2017, Jade and her husband, fellow pharmacist Matt Fricks, opened up shop at their first pharmacy in Jade’s native Kentucky. There, they tested out the tried-and-true model of filling prescriptions and giving immunizations. But something was still missing.
So when Jade and Matt made the move to Milton, FL, they decided to make a change.
As Jade explains, “When my husband and I moved, we wanted to blow the concept of our first pharmacy out of the water. I just didn’t feel completely aligned with it. I felt like I kind of set a ceiling for myself by going the traditional route. And I was capable of providing so much more for my patients.”
So with big dreams and a desire to do things differently, Fricks Pharmacy was born.
From day one, Jade Fricks laid the foundation for what she calls “the next generation of pharmacy.”
Her vision for the pharmacy was simple: create the kind of place that would help patients stay healthy and happy.
For Jade, that started with the customer experience.
Jade explains, “People come to independents because we care for our patients, but I always felt like there was this piece missing: the experience. Sometimes when you go into doctor’s offices, it’s sterile. Everything is white. Some buildings are cold and musty. I didn’t want to create that for my patients. We have patients who are undergoing chemo. We have patients who are dealing with some tough illnesses and they don’t feel well. So I want patients to walk into our pharmacy and feel like they’re uplifted.”
That meant creating a space that was inviting: filled with gifts, bits and baubles, and when you walk in, even a complimentary cup of coffee. And it comes down to the details, as Jade perfects the sounds and even the smells of the pharmacy.
She elaborates, “Almost every customer who comes in compliments how our store smells. When people take a step in, they stop and take a deep breath and exhale…. I know it sounds kind of weird, but when they smell that smell, it triggers something subconscious in their brains and they know that they’re going to have a good experience because they’re at Fricks Pharmacy.”
To put it simply, Jade says, “It’s all about bringing joy to my patients and my team.”
The atmosphere of Fricks Pharmacy brings patients in, but the services make them stay.
And as a “next-generation pharmacy,” Jade and her team capitalize on offering new, interesting, and innovative services, including:
As Jade says, “[All of our services] help people live a healthier lifestyle. We want to be people’s healthcare destination when it comes to health and wellness. That’s what we’re known for in our community, and even in the surrounding communities, people come over to us just for that”
These services aren’t only about providing wellness — but also about opening up new opportunities for pharmacists to provide services not previously available.
As Jade explains, the last two years have accelerated pharmacists’ responsibilities, along with their recognition.
In effect, she says, “I think we’re going to see pharmacists’ role as primary providers speed up. Pharmacists really have to position themselves for that next generation. It’s exciting. I don’t view it as being scary. I view it as, ‘Oh my goodness, there are so, so many opportunities.' So I have to calm my excitement and figure out which of these [services] I want to really hone in on.”
For Jade, picking a few services and sticking with them is key. Pharmacists have limited time and resources available, so in an effort to maximize your time and increase your profits, she recommends getting into a niche.
She says, “It comes down to finding your niche and what you’re passionate about… You have to stand out as the expert in [your niche], and then people will seek out your services.”
At Fricks Pharmacy, that niche happens to be functional medicine and pharmacogenomics — Jade and Matt’s two passions, respectively — but all pharmacists can find their niche and turn a profit on it.
As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, pharmacists have more opportunities to offer more services; so it’s important to prepare accordingly.
And as Jade explains, “I want our pharmacy to be positioned to jump right into an opportunity whenever it comes.”
With a great atmosphere, great services, and a great team that makes a trip to the pharmacy a touch more joyful, Fricks Pharmacy & Mercantile has seen success in Milton, FL and beyond.
For Jade, it’s been a lifelong dream come true —and it’s a dream that she only plans to keep pursuing.
As Jade explains, “Owning a pharmacy [has given] me so much flexibility. It has allowed me to be creative and really pursue things that I’m passionate about. You have to be passionate about what you’re doing, otherwise you won’t feel like you have a purpose. Being in independent pharmacy, I feel like I can live out my purpose and help patients.”
That’s not to say that ownership has always been easy, but pushing towards a higher purpose and a higher calling has been worth it. And to Jade, her calling is clear.
She says, “We’re Christians, and while we’re not going to push religion down your throat, we’re here because of God. Our purpose of being here is to serve our community, and it’s a very high priority for me to bring joy to others.”
Whether she’s seeing patients, selecting front-end items, or finding new opportunities for pharmacists to grow, for Jade, joy is at the center of it all.