Consumers’ response to Target coming to Canada might have been tepid, but their support of the retail chain’s Red Deer pharmacy was anything but.
Owner Sheldon Parsons said his pharmacy in the Bower Place department store was among the busiest — if not the busiest — in Target’s Canadian chain. And he now plans to continue operating at a new location.
“We’ve been growing very, very well,” said Parsons, who’s had the franchise for Target’s Red Deer pharmacy since it opened in May 2013, and previously owned and operated a pharmacy in Calgary.
Prescription volumes and professional services for Target’s network of Canadian pharmacies confirmed that Red Deer has been a top-performer. Parsons thinks the fact that he and a member of his staff are prescribing pharmacists, able to prescribe certain medications to their patients, has been a factor.
“We do a lot of disease management — acute and chronic prescribing.”
For instance, a patient with a recurring problem, like an eye infection, might be able to get the medication they need from a prescribing pharmacist without having to see a medical doctor.
The Target pharmacy has also been offering other non-traditional services, such as blood tests for patients on blood thinners so that their condition can be monitored and controlled without having to attend at a lab.
The popularity of his pharmacy convinced Parsons to relocate after Target announced in January that it would close its Canadian stores. He’s secured a spot at 4755 49th St., in a portion of the former premises of DynaLIFE DX Diagnostic Laboratory Services, and plans to move there effective March 16.
“I think it’s a great location.”
Slated to operate as Parsons Pharmacy, the business will offer the same services that it does now in Target, said Parsons. He anticipates that his current roster of five pharmacists will be scaled back to reflect the shorter hours that Parsons Pharmacy will operate.
Parsons will also have his own front-store merchandise, unlike the current situation in which Target owns and maintains all non-prescription products. And he doesn’t plan to affiliate his pharmacy with any corporate banners.
“I’ve always dreamt about having a true independent pharmacy.”
Despite persistent rumours that Target Canada was in trouble, Parson was still surprised — and disappointed — when the end was announced. Many of his patients expressed concerns about their pharmaceutical needs and said they would follow him.
“I took that as a no-brainer that yes, we’ve go to stay in business for these people that we’ve come to know and work with.”
Patient files at Target will be transferred to Parsons Pharmacy.
Parsons is aware of the history of the Parsons’ name in the local medical community, with Parsons Clinic operating downtown for nearly 70 years before closing in 2012.
“This new pharmacy actually won’t be far from where the Parsons Clinic used to be,” he observed, adding that he considered naming the new pharmacy after his young son, but feared that might lead to problems if he has more children.