Highlighting the important role independent community pharmacists play in our national healthcare system.
Pharmacist: Cheri Garvin
Pharmacy name: Leesburg Pharmacy
City, State: Leesburg, VA
Pharmacist's years of service: 20+
What led you to a career in independent community pharmacy?
I had the good fortune to grow up in Leesburg where Bruce Roberts was my hometown pharmacist, and a neighboring business owner of my parents. When I started college at George Mason University, I majored in biology, but I had no idea if that would translate into a paying job. Bruce encouraged me to consider pharmacy school and the rest is history. I joke with Bruce now, that I’m not sure if he saw me as a young entrepreneur that needed a mentor or just his exit strategy!
What makes your pharmacy standout from the competition?
The biggest thing that sets us apart from our competition is our compounding practice. The Compounding Center at Leesburg Pharmacy is the only PCAB accredited site in the Northern Virginia area. Also, we have continued to improve our business like Bruce did, by building relationships in our community and with our patients. Our pharmacy is employee owned and operated, and we pride ourselves on our personalized and customized service whether it's coming from The Compounding Center, The Wellness Center, The Medical Equipment Department or The Gift Shop.
What are your biggest challenges?
Our biggest challenges are probably the same ones every community pharmacy is facing; insurance reimbursement issues and unjust mail order practices. It is very frustrating to try to provide excellent service to your customers for pennies—and you wait a month for that! It is also very distressing to see our life long customers feel forced to use mail order for their medications.
Describe a recent, rewarding experience with a patient:
We have a local eNewsletter that focuses on spreading good news about the businesses in our area. Leesburg Pharmacy was highlighted in the most recent edition. The reporter spoke with several of our patients and prescribers for the story. We were absolutely blown away by the testimonials. I was so wonderful to hear how we have affected people's lives or their medical practices. We don't do what we do for that pat on the back, but it sure was nice to receive!
How has NCPA helped your business?
I look to NCPA regularly for assistance. Sometimes it's a referral for a vendor or just calling up another owner to ask for help. I also find the benchmarking information: from the digest invaluable. It helps me compare my business. While I am not a particularly political person by nature, NCPA’s Government Affairs has taught me how important it is to be involved and speak out when necessary. Of course, the Annual Convention is always a wonderful way to get recharged. I love the interaction with other pharmacists from around the country and the CE is top notch. Keep up the good work.By helping our profession to try to not become a commodity. Being able to attend conventions and meetings is a major help.