Pharmacist: Nelson Showalter, RPh, CCN
Pharmacy: Broadway Drug Center
City, State: Broadway, VA
Current Position/Title: Pharmacist/Owner
How many years have you been practicing as a pharmacist?
What led you to a career in independent community pharmacy?
I grew up in a family medical background. My father owned a pharmacy and I would spend time there as he looked after me. As I got older, I had the opportunity to assist him with various tasks. I developed a love for people and trying to help them make their lives easier.
What makes your pharmacy standout from the competition?
All my life I have tried to stay on the cutting edge of pharmacy and not put my head in the sand. I have also always tried to hire and invest in the right people and make sure they are well trained. We still have a few employees who worked for my father and, while they may be older, patients recognize them and notice if they are not in the pharmacy. They know the patient's names and are interested in the patient as a person.
We also offer free vitamins to school children. When we first spoke to school officials about the program, they were concerned because there are students in other parts of the county that may not be able to take advantage of this. I called each of the other eight independent pharmacies and pitched them the idea for all of us to offer free vitamins to students, which they all agreed to. I made a flyer for each pharmacy to use to help promote this program.
What are your biggest challenges?
It's not necessarily the big box stores. But in the current environment with low reimbursements from PBMs, we have to continuously mine data on products to stock those that are most profitable. We have to try to increase our gross profit margin by paying attention to the little things.
We also have challenges with our vitamins for students programs. We are limited in how we market the service in the schools. We can leave flyers that parents can pick up, but we can't actively promote the program because officials are concerned that other vendors would want the same privilege. However, I believe we would be able to assist more kids with free vitamins if we were able to more actively raise awareness in the schools.
Describe a recent, rewarding experience with a patient:
Patients routinely tell me that they prefer talking to me instead of their physician. One thing we stress with our patients is the importance of probiotics, particularly when a patient is taking an antibiotic. A probiotic is really a vitamin for your gut.
Another product where we get positive patient feedback is with deglycerised licorice which comes in a wafer. We can’t sell it unless the patient requests it, and they have to pay cash for it. But, the manufacturer guarantees the product. It replaces some H2 antagonists such as Prilosec, but patients who have taken it have had positive results and have been pleased.
How has NCPA helped your business?
NCPA has introduced me to different technologies at trade shows. Gabe Trahan has helped us with front end. He has good ideas, all you have to do is implement them. We have a Walmart opening 2.5 miles away. We want to reconfigure our store to carry things that aren't carried at Walmart, such as Prevagen. The NCPA Multiple Locations Conference is extremely helpful with business ideas, and in the fall we try to send our younger pharmacists to NCPA’s annual convention.