When you think “community pharmacy,” a small, singular location situated in a small town probably comes to mind, right?
Discount Drug Mart is one of these community pharmacies, except there are seventy-three locations serving the state of Ohio. Since 1969, one store has grown to a chain that Ohioans rely on for pharmacy services and one-stop shopping. Jason Briscoe, Discount Drug Mart’s Director of Pharmacy, shares on the business of independent pharmacy.
Since his graduation from pharmacy school in 2002, Discount Drug Mart has always been on Jason’s resume. He worked his way up from a staff pharmacist at a Centerville location to his current position as the Director of Pharmacy at Discount Drug Mart’s headquarters. Discount Drug Mart’s history, says Jason, is the main reason he chose Drug Mart from the beginning and has remained loyal since.
Discount Drug Mart’s founder, Parviz Boodjeh, had an idea for a pharmacy that encompassed one-stop shopping and excellent patient services. The Drug Mart stores feature a pharmacy, of course, but its expansive front end features everything from a grocery store to video rentals to key cutting services. Boodjeh’s innovative thinking has helped expand his single store to other services in 2016, such as a closed-shop specialty pharmacy, a medical equipment company, and even in-store clinics. Although the large number of locations may give the appearance of a corporatized chain, Discount Drug Mart remains focused on community and independence. “We give a lot of autonomy not only to our pharmacists, but also our store managers and employees,” Jason explains. “It goes back to the core of Discount Drug Mart. Mr. Boodjeh always wanted the folks at store level to feel as though it was their store.” Boodjeh’s leadership has been a hallmark of Drug Mart history and culture, and it prompts Jason and his team to continue that leadership. “In my mind, a good leader can be summarized with the statement ‘To lead is to serve.’ I think that resonates throughout Discount Drug Mart,” says Jason.
Discount Drug Mart’s growth and long-running history are a testament to its success, but there are several factors that play into this success. Efficiency is one of these factors, according to Jason. “With the industry changing as quickly it is, I think one thing we always try to teach all of our pharmacists is to be as efficient as possible. Always think about ways to not necessarily pass off work by leveraging technology or pharmacy technicians, but take a long look at what it is that only you can do, and that’s what you should be focusing on.” Another factor is the culture that Drug Mart creates – a forward-thinking, pharmacist-focused environment – that its pharmacists appreciate. In fact, Discount Drug Mart currently employs more pharmacists that have worked there for twenty-five years or more than pharmacists that have worked there less than ten years. Employees in the retail side of Drug Mart also do a great job of working with the pharmacy to capitalize on profit opportunities, such as the flu shot or the Sync Your Meds program, which currently has 18,000 patients enrolled for medication adherence.
Although Discount Drug Mart consists of so many stores, they never lose focus on their core values.
“We don’t want to be characterized as a chain pharmacy or just another retailer within that community; we want to be central to what’s going on,”
says Jason. When a Drug Mart location becomes part of its community, then it can change the lives of the patients who go there for health care needs. If one pharmacy can have a positive effect on a community, imagine the impact of seventy-three throughout the state of Ohio.
Every pharmacist has the potential to grow their pharmacy to a statewide operation. After all, it takes just one pharmacist and one drugstore.
The rest is history.