New Independent Pharmacy Puts Patients First
Pharmacist Idayat Adewunmi opened an independent pharmacy in Mt. Airy's Pelham Plaza last fall because she wanted to be able to give her patients more one-on-one attention.
A year ago, pharmacist Idayat A. Adewunmi was working for a large chain. But she felt pressure to fill prescriptions quickly, and there was almost no opportunity for counseling patients about their medications. She came home from work every night feeling drained.
When Adewunmi’s second child was born last year, she decided to make a change. On October 30th, 2011, Adewunmi opened an independent pharmacy in the Pelham section of Mt. Airy, near the intersection of Hortter and Greene Streets.
Opening her own pharmacy was a bold move. “It was scary,” she said. “The first week, I cried.”
Adewunmi is aware that she’s not your typical pharmacist. “Most pharmacists are male,” she said. “For a woman to start something like this—it was tough.”
But already she feels better about her work. “I don't feel drained compared to before,” she said.
She spends a lot more time getting to know her patients, and has had an enthusiastic response from people who live close to the store. “They’re so excited about it,” she said.
Now all Adewunmi needs is to build her business. She said some people have misconceptions about the fact that her pharmacy is independent.
“Many people think their co-pays will be different at an independent pharmacy, but it’s just that someone has one-on-one time with you instead of just filling your prescription and putting it in a bag,” Adewunmi said. She accepts the same insurance policies as a larger outfit, and has the same drugs available. If she doesn’t have a specific drug in stock, she can get it within 24 hours. She participates in a buying group made up of other independent pharmacies, so she gets bulk discounts on her medications the way a large chain store would.
In addition to prescription drugs, Adewunmi has an assortment of over-the-counter medicines, medical devices, and other pharmacy-related items. She also carries a few natural household products like biodegradable laundry detergent.
Her snack section looks nothing like a typical pharmacy. She sells medicinal teas, plantain chips, and gluten-free cookies, but you can still pick up a Kit-Kat bar if you prefer.
Why the natural products? They fit in with Adewunmi’s vision for the store. She chose the location because of the other businesses around it—the Pelham Plaza Dry Cleaners, Joa Mart across the street, Toto’s Pizzeria. She liked the fact that there are large apartment buildings close by. The more customers who can walk to her store, the better.
Although Adewunmi’s shop seems like an old-time pharmacy because the pharmacist has time to chat and ask after your kids, there are some ways in which the Pelham Pharmacy is cutting edge. Adewunmi accepts prescription refills via her website, and she is offering free delivery.
Yes, you read that right. Free delivery.
The store has a small room with chairs where Adewunmi can talk with patients privately and administer vaccines. Regular customers are permitted to run a small balance, filling their prescriptions when they need them but waiting til the end of the month to pay. Adewunmi hates the idea of her patients going without their medicine because they’re temporarily short on cash.
Adewunmi is making it easy for people to make the switch. All you have to do is bring in your pill bottle, and she can do the rest—call your old pharmacy and your doctor’s office to get the information she needs to fill your prescriptions.
Adewunmi’s excitement is contagious.
“I love being a pharmacist,” she said.
That much is obvious.
Pelham Pharmacy, 6555 Greene St. Open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., except Tuesday when the pharmacy closes at 5 p.m. Open Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed Sunday. 215-848-0500.