One of the jobs of the healthcare blogger, in my opinion, is to keep his or her ear to the ground with respect to professional developments and changes. As a pharmacist I try to do this by staying abreast of medical and pharmacy news, interacting with fellow pharmacists online and within my associations, and staying reasonably active on social media. But it is a learned skill, and I claim no special giftedness here. I’ve been blogging for years, but still consider myself a novice. I certainly have no crystal ball.
But if I do hear any faint pharmaceutical galloping going on, it would be hooves of an increased interest in independent community pharmacy ownership. As such, I am actively seeking to reach out for my readers and share some of the stories and advice of successful pharmacy owners and entrepreneurs. With that in mind I reached out to Barry Klein of Klein’s pharmacy in Akron and Cuyahoga Falls Ohio. Barry graciously agreed to answer a few questions about his career and the pharmacy for my readers here at The Honest Apothecary.
1) Barry thanks for taking the time to talk to us here at The Honest Apothecary. Could you tell us a little about your career as a pharmacist and when you became a pharmacy owner?
I am second generation owner of Klein’s Pharmacy. My father started the business in 1966 and I came back as pharmacist full time in 1990.
2) What do you like most about being a pharmacy owner?
I can determine the direction the pharmacy is going and that is always has to been to treat our customers like family.
3) What would you say is the biggest challenge facing independent pharmacy owners in our nation or in Ohio in particular?
Community Pharmacy has more barriers to entry than ever before. The regulatory environment has become much more complicated and dynamic. I also feel that Ohio is not very small business friendly in both regulatory and taxation standpoint.
4) What sorts of things are you doing at Klein’s Pharmacy that are unique and not necessarily available at other pharmacies in your area?
We are unique in our area with solutions we offer for medication adherence. So many patients struggle with taking their medications as prescribed; we offer numerous compliance packaging solutions.
5) Some independent pharmacy owners are struggling in this economy. Do you have any tips on the sorts of things that have helped your business at Klein’s Pharmacy?
Be flexible, with every threat there is an opportunity, so be flexible enough to take advantage of those opportunities.
6) What advice would you give to pharmacists who are interested in becoming pharmacy owners?
Find a mentor, many other independent pharmacy owners are willing to help and would be happy to share their “hard knocks” lessons in order that new independent pharmacy owner can avoid these learning curves.
7) How do you feel about the overall direction of the pharmacy profession these days? Are you optimistic?
I have become very frustrated with pharmacy education, too many of the pharmacy schools look down on community pharmacy and specifically independent pharmacy. Too many pharmacy students are being told that owning your pharmacy is not smart, you will never survive. Store ownership has not been easy, but has provided tremendously for my family. I have always said, I do not want to hear complaints, but I want to hear solutions, and with that, working with our local college of pharmacy and challenging them to encourage and recruit more entrepreneurial students. There are possibilities out there with pharmacy, which have not even been considered yet!!
8) If patients in your community read this and want to find out more about Klein’s Pharmacy and your services, what is the best way to contact you or find out more information?
Customer can visit our website at Klein’s Pharmacy or call our Cuyahoga Falls location, 330-929-9183, and can be directed to me.
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