It came down to location, location, location when Manan Shah decided to open his own pharmacy in St. Jacobs this month.
Shah’s Pharmasave, located on King Street, will offer all the traditional services of a pharmacy, but with the added benefit of being in the same plaza as complementary healthcare businesses.
“We noticed that this location is a pretty convenient one for everyone going up North to small towns or out West to small towns and we’re right by the family practice, which is recruiting new patients. We’re also right by the imaging centre and once we get blood work here, we’ll be a one stop shop for everything,” Shah said.
Along with his father and cousin, who are both pharmacists, he opened the pharmacy two weeks ago. Shah is the owner and pharmacist, which means he’ll get to know his patients on a personal level.
“I think that people will get a higher level of care when it’s your own business and your own patients that you’re taking care of, you have a drive to deliver a certain level of care that isn’t really matched that often,” Shah said.
Originally from Toronto, Shah did his undergraduate degree at McMaster University and then went to the University of Michigan to get his doctorate in pharmacy. He did his post-doctoral fellowship at Rutgers University.
Shah runs the day-to-day operations of the pharmacy himself right now, but once business picks up he plans to hire an additional pharmacist and a technician.
“I think the draw to the spot was the quality of the location and the fact that we know we will be able to deliver a certain level of care here that’s up to our standards in conjunction with the clinic and the imaging.”
Aside from being a full prescription pharmacy, they do free delivery, specialty compounding, and pain management. If there are specific needs they can’t address there they have partner pharmacies that they work with.
“I like being accessible to patients and pharmacists in my opinion are the most accessible health practitioner that patients have and it’s nice to be able to build long-term relationships with their patients and see them frequently. I like the science behind pharmacy as well,” Shah said.
Getting the pharmacy up and running took eight months, he estimates. Having a family connection in the business made the process fairly easy.
“There was a lot to learn, but I had a lot of expertise backing me with my father and my cousin who are my partners. So I was able to navigate the waters with ease,” Shah said.
Pharmasave is open Monday to Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The Saturday hours may change as he’s thinking about getting a booth at the farmers’ market for the pharmacy to sell things like vitamins and hand sanitizer for the cold season.
“Because we own the place we’re very invested in delivering the best service possible. We’re willing to do what it takes to get our patients their medication in a manner that’s safe and effective and cost-efficient. We also do specialty medications that other pharmacies can’t necessarily do because we have partner pharmacies that have specialty equipment to develop personalized medication,” Shah explained.
The pharmacy and the physician next door are both accepting new patients. He says patients of the physician have noticed the pharmacy and people are starting to realize they can get their healthcare needs met in one location. Shah says he’s encouraged by the positive reception from the patients they’ve had so far.
“The best part is for me you get to build patient relationships right from the start. It’s very rewarding when your patients are helping you and you’re helping them. That’s probably my favourite thing that I’ve discovered so far since working as just a regular pharmacist versus being an owner. It makes you feel good when you see your patients and it makes you feel good when you don’t see your patients because you know they’re healthy,” Shah said.
Those people looking for a pharmacy or a family doctor can find Pharmasave and Waterloo North Health Centre at 826 King St. N., across from the farmers’ market.