Starting a pharmacy is a mission that can benefit both you and your community in numerous ways, but it's not something that can be entered into lightly or without the needed dedication and commitment to succeed. There are a variety of ways to get started, such as:
- Building a brand-new pharmacy from the ground up
- Starting a pharmacy in an existing occupancy that's been remodeled to fit your needs
- Taking over ownership of a pharmacy that's already operational and merely needs some of your own touches to make it your own
Go With The Pros
Unless you happen to have been trained or educated in the art of pharmacy design, your first best bet when starting a pharmacy is probably to look for a dedicated pharmacy design firm to assist you from the very beginning of your project. This is especially true if you'll be personally starting from the ground up rather than, for example, building within an established franchise that has lots of experience bringing new operations online.
As an independent, community-type pharmacy just establishing yourself, you want to look to the things that will help you stand out in your community and set yourself apart from competing, run-of-the-mill drugstores that are a dime-a-dozen. This means working with a designer that knows the importance of being unique in a way that's attractive to what you define as your target market. You also want to hire an experienced pharmacy design firm that:
- Knows how to create a store that is attractive, welcoming, profitable and easy for shoppers to appreciate
- Utilizes state-of-the-art designs and is involved in all facets of the design, manufacture and installation of high-quality equipment and fixtures
- Understands the need to know all the specifics of your retail space, including its location and outside traffic flow, nearby competition, customer mix and general merchandising needs
- Knows how to determine your ideal shelving, fixture and workstation installation needs in order to provide maximum store efficiency and security as well as the creation of a friendly and attractive shopping environment and a positive customer experience
- Knows the importance of sizing and locating each of your store's sections or departments to maximize merchandising opportunities and promote impulse buying
- Has access to and an understanding of how best to incorporate pharmacy shelving and fixtures, cabinets and workstation desks, counters, seating, signage and all the various display accessories to provide a wide array of merchandising options
Your Construction Firm May Not Have the Chops
While it might be tempting to conclude that the additional expense involved in hiring a pharmacy design firm is unnecessary when you'll already be paying good money to a construction firm, think again. You can't expect to obtain the best results from a generic builder that doesn't have the specific knowledge and expertise that goes along with many years of unique projects completed in the retail and healthcare industries. This includes important inside knowledge needed for compliance with all the various codes specific to pharmacies in addition to general building, electrical and fire codes. Complying with general building or ADA codes is one thing. Compliance with the new, stricter HIPAA regulations is another thing and something your builder may not be up on.
Starting a Pharmacy Begins Here
When starting a pharmacy, begin by doing some online reconnoitering, and see what the various pharmacy design firms have to say. Many will have initial free consultations that will provide the opportunity to feel them out, ask questions, measure responses and choose with conviction.