Have you inherited your family-owned pharmacy from a parent or grandparent? If so, congratulations! You're ready to launch a whole new era for your community while giving them the continuity they crave. How can you keep the "flavor" of your pharmacy without ignoring what made it successful, but also make it your own?
Save major remodels for later
Don't make big changes right away if you don't have to. Keep the basic layout the same so that customers are still familiar with your store. Do, however, make sure that you are up-to-date with accessibility requirements and privacy issues as they relate to the HIPAA regulations that went into effect in 2013.
Saving major remodels for later will keep more money in your budget until you've got your new business solidly underway. You'll also help your customers feel at home because they'll remain familiar with your store. You can do any major remodeling later, once customers have gotten comfortable with you in your new role as owner.
Keep the same color scheme
Your pharmacy design should keep the same color scheme your parent or grandparent used. You should, however, freshen up the interior with new paint and carpeting, updated pharmacy shelving and fixtures, and soft, diffuse lighting that is warm and welcoming instead of cold and institutional. You can make your pharmacy even more welcoming by bringing the outdoors in; put in a skylight or two or invest in some hypoallergenic plants that will provide welcome greenery and even a fresh source of oxygen – all guaranteed to help your customers and patients feel better.
Keep the previous staff if you can
One of the best ways to ensure that you'll keep the same "flavor" of your pharmacy once you assume leadership is by keeping the same staff on board, since your customers are used to working with them.
Do, however, introduce new technologies and address workflow inefficiencies right away. Both staff and customers are used to doing or having things done a certain way; while you will no doubt have ideas as to how you want things done differently (especially as it relates to efficiency and workflow), start slowly and integrate these changes into your pharmacy design. Find out what's working and what's not currently, then make necessary changes to update protocols and improve efficiency.
Begin by analyzing workflow, updating protocols, and addressing any inefficiencies, privacy issues, or problems with traffic patterns or bottlenecks in the workspace. Introduce new technologies like robots and IVR if these are not already used to bring staff fully on-board. Above all, make your staff comfortable and encourage feedback so that you maintain an open, easy relationship with them.
Continue to be the "face" of your business and provide personalized service
One of the most important things your predecessor could do as an independent pharmacist was to be the "face" of the business. Customers and patients knew they could have their needs taken care of by someone who had gotten to know them well. Maintain that personal connection with your customers as you assume the helm.
Above all, what will set you apart from your retail pharmacy competitors is the fact that you – just like your parent or grandparent – are there to serve your customers and patients to the best of your ability and with personalized service every day.