When Dev Aggarwal purchased Westpark Drugs at the age of 25, there were seven pharmacies in Red Deer. 40 years later there are 52 pharmacies, many of them owned by national corporations, but Aggarwal’s Westpark I.D.A. is still independent and still going strong.
“I want to show that an independent pharmacy can survive, even in these tough times. Hard work and customer service are the keys to our success,” he says.
Aggarwal graduated from the University of Alberta with Pharmacy Degree in 1981 and got a job at a local pharmacy, where he met his future wife, Connie. It was just a year later that he purchased the pharmacy that would become Westpark IDA.
“I was an enthusiastic business person! I was only 25 and all of the staff were older than me. I didn’t know how to treat them at first, but it quickly became a wonderful, reciprocal relationship. I didn’t want to babysit them, and I didn’t have to — they’re all hard working people, and even when I was away from the pharmacy I could trust that the business would be well looked after.”
Still going strong after 40 years!
Those early years raising three kids while Connie and Dev both worked as pharmacists were busy and challenging, but the community of customers and staff kept the business going.
“I thought that I’d move on after a few years, but we fell in love with the community. Here I am after 40 years and loving every moment. I’ve been through three generations of customers! One of the things that’s so amazing is that even when customers move away, they still keep coming to Westpark I.D.A.,” Aggarwal says.
In 2018 Aggarwal sold the pharmacy to friend Francis Miguel, but he still manages the staff and works in the pharmacy a few mornings a week.
“I told Francis that this is my baby — I know the customers by name, know the staff and know how it operates. I enjoy chatting with customers and hope to continue working part-time for a long time.”
The store recently hosted a 40th anniversary barbecue with prizes and refreshments to celebrate the milestone.
Find Westpark I.D.A. Drugs at 3722 57th Ave. in Red Deer. Open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. Call 403.346.8809 to speak with a pharmacist, or stop by in person.