Pharmacy Ownership – an Interview with Pharmacist Tony De Nicola

March 30, 2013 • Interviews • Views: 3621

Ralph Waldo Emerson, that Boston-born poet of the 19th century, once said “Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself.  Go forward and make your dreams come true.”

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Sometimes I dream.  I dream of a high-tech pharmacy with state-of-the art computers, equipment and services to help patients manage their medication safely and effectively.  My dream also incorporates some of the classic and nostalgic pharmacy elements of previous generations as well.  I can see various pharmacy memorabilia decorating the walls.  I can see a soda fountain/Internet cafe on one side.  Books on health and wellness surrounding a wi-fi enabled reading/sitting area.  There would be a counseling room for clinical services.  We would offer delivery services for shut-ins, but no drive through (this is a pharmacy, not a fast-food chain).  Here, in my dream, we really practice pharmacy.  I like my dream.

How about you?  Ever wondered about owning your own pharmacy and designing/implementing the services you believe in and know would add real value to the health and well-being of your patients?

You might be happy to know that there are some good folks out there committed to helping you reach that dream.  Recently I had an opportunity to interview one such person, Tony De Nicola.  Tony is a 1962 graduate of St. John’s University College of Pharmacy.  He began his career in a community pharmacy as a partner, and immediately began growing the business – eventually opening a second store.  He continued to expand his opportunities and efficiency through technology and partnerships with other independent owners.  In 1980 Tony sold his pharmacies and began to focus his career on helping others who want to sell and buy independent pharmacies.  The online presence of this business is found at www.buy-sellapharmacy.com.  Tony helps pharmacy owners who are ready to sell connect with prospective owners who are looking to buy.

Tony graciously agreed to answer a few questions about this service for myself and my readers:

1.  When and why did you decide to develop the buy-sellapharmacy website?  How long has it been in operation?

Tony:  Founded the company in 2000, set up the web site then, have updated/revised it every other year since then. 13 years in business.

2.  Many pharmacists think about owning a pharmacy, but don’t believe THEY could ever really do it.  What would you say to such pharmacists?

Tony:  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  The two biggest obstacles are lack of experience and lack of capital.

3.  I can certainly see how capital is a major concern.  How much money, really, is typically needed in cash (not borrowed) to purchase a pharmacy?  Are there any creative ways to overcome this?

Tony:  Impossible to say, every deal is different. We have seen folks buy modest stores with as little as $25K, plus financing, have sold all cash deals for $5MM. Too many variables to address in the macro sense.

4.  So how exactly could you help a pharmacist who wanted to find a pharmacy for sale and begin to assess the opportunity of a purchase?

TonyMany times a buyer has targeted a specific geographic area (or even a specific pharmacy) that he/or she wishes to purchase or commence to do business in.  We can conduct a search within a specific area for a pharmacy for sale, representing the buyer, and/or approach a specific pharmacy that a buyer might wish to purchase but does not want to approach the owner directly. – Cost = A success fee, usually expressed as an agreed-upon percentage of the transaction, to be negotiated with the prospective buyer.

5.  What would you say to pharmacists who believe they just couldn’t compete with the big chains?

Tony:  The chains are NOT your competition.

6.  I imagine that sometimes a pharmacist may have already identified an operating independent pharamcy that they would like to consider purchasing.  How would you help someone in that situation?

TonyWhen buyers or sellers have already identified a potential transaction with one another, possibly entered into some negotiations but feel the need for a qualified professional to represent them in this process.  We will represent either side in a potential sale, assisting with negotiations until a price is agreed by both parties and, if requested, in all other aspects described as part of the brokering process.   Cost = A fee to be negotiated between us and the party or parties who retain us, based upon the time, effort and complexity of the proposed transaction.

7.  For those who already own a pharmacy, and are just beginning to think about passing on their investment to an interested buyer, what services do you offer?

Tony:  Two services:

PHARMACY EVALUATION – An evaluation of your retail pharmacy.  Conducted via a review of financial statements, tax returns, Rx department printouts, lease or proposed occupancy costs and a telephone interview with the owner. This process results in the delivery of an opinion letter as to the value of the pharmacy based on the aforementioned review and our recent experiences in the marketplace. Suitable for determining current market value when contemplating development of an exit strategy.  $1,750, payable when you submit the required paperwork.

PHARMACY APPRAISAL – Includes all aspects of the evaluation plus a review of photos of the physical plant. This encompasses a review of the physical premises and local competitors in the marketplace as well as an in-depth interview with the owner, comparisons against industry standards and comparable transactions..  This process results in the production of a fully documented appraisal which can be used for partnership and stockholder agreement valuations, IRS queries as to pharmacy valuation for a variety of tax and estate reasons, exit and estate planning activities and any legal disputes where the value of the pharmacy is a component of the dispute.  $3,500.00, payable when you submit the required paperwork.

8.  What has been the best part of operating buy-sellapharmacy in your experience?

Tony:  Helping older owners sell what is usually their biggest asset, so they can retire, helping young pharmacists maintain the integrity of the independent pharmacy and, of course, earning a living 🙂

9.  Where can my readers get more information about owning a pharmacy?  Are there individuals out there willing to help them work through their questions?

Tony:  NCPA has published many publications on this topic. A visit to this link http://www.buy-sellapharmacy.com/articles.html will provide a ton of information about all the various aspects of finding and acquiring a pharmacy of their own.

 

Tony and his colleagues have covered the entire U.S. and are capable of addressing the needs of buyers and/or sellers in all 50 states:

 

 

Looking for more information?

CLICK HERE for the “Contact Us” page of Tony’s website and find a partner in your area. 

Or contact Tony directly at tonyd@buy-sellapharmacy.com

I want to thank Tony for taking the time to chat with me and, for many, helping to keep our dreams alive.

 

 

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Author: Jason Poquette

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