Pharmacy Central: Going Above And Beyond
Jennifer and Kyle Stevens have lived in the Central area for the past 15 years. This past May, they opened their new business, Pharmacy Central, on the corner of Greenwell Springs Road and Morgan Road in the Frog’s shopping center.
Both Jennifer and Kyle graduated from University of Louisiana at Monroe. While Kyle earned his PharmD, he worked at Rite Aid as a pharmacy student. Upon graduation, he continued employment at Rite Aid for the next 11 years. After earning her bachelor’s in general studies, Jennifer continued her high school job at Walgreens and worked her way up to general manager. During her time at Walgreens, Jennifer managed multiple locations and became a certified pharmacy technician.
With more than three decades of retail experience between the pair, Jennifer and Kyle decided to open their own pharmacy in Central. “With our experience, Kyle and I have a very strong understanding of what customer service means, of what it can do for a customer and what it can do for us,” Jennifer said, “It means going above and beyond and trying to think ahead of what we can do to make their experience better than what they even expect.” As the resident pharmacist, Jennifer noted that her husband strives to keep himself up to date and educated on new medications and news in the healthcare industry so that they may better serve the community.
After working in big chain pharmacy stores for so many years, Jennifer and Kyle also hoped to re-discover what they love about customer service. “We really wanted to get out of the big chain type of an environment and get back to what we love which is face to face contact with customers and being able to actually help customers and discuss their needs and provide that over the top customer service,” Jennifer said, “We want to go out of our way to do everything we can to help them.”
According to Jennifer, everyone wants to know, “Are y’all like a real pharmacy?” The answer is yes. Pharmacy Central is a full serving pharmacy. They provide prescriptions and over the counter medications. Text messages are available along with everything from autofills to giftables to immunizations. Pharmacy Central also does MTM or Medicated Therapy Management. MTM highlights when someone may get a double dose of two name medications that do the same thing. With MTM, the pharmacist can take a deeper look, give the customer a call or talk to the doctor to make sure overdosing does not occur or that two drugs are not counteracting each other. The only insurance company that has not been available is Etna Better Health.
With their home just down the street on Morgan Road, the Stevens hoped the convenience would allow them to see their 3-year old daughter more and let her grow up in the family business. “We love this area,” Jennifer said. Central Drug Store was another factor in choosing their location. “We don’t want to compete with Central Drug Store. We want to work with them,” Jennifer said, “We’ve actually already built a relationship with them because we use the same wholesaler, we use the same computer system. We came to this side of town because we do respect what they’ve done.” Additionally, Jennifer noted an even closer working relationship with Central Drug Store in the future. “We have the possibility, and we’re already discussing it, to be able to transfer medications between each other and help each other out,” she said.
Jennifer and Kyle also attested to the ease of the permit process as they built the groundwork for their new business. “It seemed that everything went fairly smoothly,” Jennifer said, “as far as Central and getting our permits and getting on our feet... everything went really quickly. I can’t say that we had any speed bumps in that process.” Additionally, the Stevens expressed gratitude for the welcome support of the community and individuals coming into their new store. “They’re rallying for us,” Jennifer said.
Presently, the Stevens have one employee who is training to be a certified technician. “As we grow, of course, we will look for cashiers and technicians, and hopefully another pharmacist,” Jennifer said, “Our goal is to stay here and build our business and continue to be able to provide for customers in the area.”
The Stevens plan to set their roots deep in Central as they raise their daughter. “I love the Central atmosphere,” Jennifer said, “Everyone seems to be happy, and they seem to be very dedicated to the community, and they want Central to be successful and do well and look good and stay clean and clear of litter. You feel that wholesome environment. You know that you’re bringing up your child in an environment that is going to ensure that they are learning good values. Really, just an overall atmosphere of being safe. You feel safe here.”