Community Pharmacist Spotlight Archive

Fred's Pharmacy

by NCPA | Jan 10, 2016

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Pharmacist: Cole Sandlin, Pharm D

Pharmacy: Fred's Pharmacy

City, State: Hamilton, AL

How many years have you been practicing as a pharmacist? I have been a pharmacist for 7 years now. I graduated from McWhorter School of Pharmacy at Samford University in 2008.

What led you to a career in independent community pharmacy?
I am a third generation pharmacist, so independent pharmacy has always been a part of my life. I didn't originally consider pharmacy as my career path, but I felt a calling to come back home and take care of the people in my community. Being from a small town, my community had always supported me, and I felt I owed it to my community to return and continue to provide great service to our patients.

What makes your pharmacy standout from the competition?
With Walmart and Fred's Express (part of the Fred's Pharmacy Chain) located right down the street, our pharmacy is the only independent pharmacy in town. That being said, our pharmacy definitely stands out in customer service. We are able to take care of our patients quickly, accurately, and with a friendly attitude. Patients don't always get that in chain pharmacies.

What are your biggest challenges?
Currently, the biggest challenges for my business are mail order and preferred networks. Independent pharmacy is not given the opportunity to "run with the big dogs." A level playing field would provide my pharmacy the opportunity to really showcase how we can benefit patients. It is very disheartening when you can no longer take care of a patient who has been using your pharmacy for 30 years, because they have been mandated to use mail order.

What changes have you made since taking over your father's business?
Since purchasing the business from my father in January of 2014, I have implemented several new services. When I first returned home after graduation, my father's business wasn't providing any additional services. It was a traditional independent pharmacy. Currently we offer MTM, vaccinations, Wellness Screenings for Alabama State Employees, medication synchronization, and Harmonyx genetic testing.

Describe a recent, rewarding experience with a patient:
Recently, a daughter of one of my patients posted on Facebook about the pharmacy. This can be good or bad, but the women had nothing but praise for the pharmacy. Her mother was taking several medications, and it had become a large burden for the daughter to try to manage. She stated that she no longer worried about her mother's medications because we take care of everything from filling her medications and syncing them to delivering the medications to her mother. She knows we are always available to answer any questions her mother may have. It always makes you feel good to hear that what you are doing actually makes a difference in patients' lives.

How has NCPA helped your business?
First and foremost, NCPA is the voice of independent pharmacy on Capitol Hill. I cannot stress how much this benefits my pharmacy and keeps our doors open. Additionally, NCPA offers a vast array of services that pharmacy owners can utilize to keep that business running optimally. The staff at NCPA are always just a phone call away to answer any question or concern I may have. I have also attended NCPA's annual conference on several occasions as well as the ownership workshop. The annual convention allows me to keep up with the trends in the industry and always provides top-notch CE programs. At the ownership workshop, I learned more than I ever could have imagined about owning and managing a pharmacy! I have been around independent pharmacy all my life, and I still took away so much from the experts.