Pharmacy U

Watch & Learn: Brenda Adams’ 7 top strategies for succeeding as an independent


In little more than a decade, in a market dominated by larger chains, we’ve been able to build our independent pharmacy, Janzen’s, into a success.

By Brenda Adams, BSc Pharm – Owner & Pharmacist

Here are our top 7 strategies to succeed as an independent:

#1 Outstanding customer service.

We’ll have medications flown by commercial carriers from Thunder Bay to remote locations on the north shore of Lake Superior, and my husband and I will even hop into our four-seat airplane and fly directly there for consultations and meetings.

#2 The personal touch

Our three pharmacies in Thunder Bay don’t have automatic telephone messaging systems during working hours. When customers call, the phone is picked up by a real person at the pharmacy.

#3 Investment in technology

We’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the latest technology that vastly speeds up and improves the volume and accuracy of prescription fills and packaging options. Now staff can spend more time with customers, and we can serve hospitals, long-term care and assisted-living facilities, and even a First Nation reserves.

#4 Unique services

We have a nurse practitioner on site in all our locations and we’ve developed a lot of unique services like a speciality compounding laboratory, geriatric consulting, pharmacist home visits, diabetes education, and immunizations and injections.

#5 Pride in partnerships

We’ve developed partnerships with healthcare professionals in our region such as dentists, physiotherapists, optometrists and business owners. This way we can offer a wide range of programs and clinics on diabetes education and management, dental care, audiology, and wheel chairs. We have a naturopathic doctor on staff to help patients with nutritional supplements and herbal and Chinese medicines and acupuncture.

#6 Focus on the frontshop

Our frontshops carry a huge selection of nutritional products, and we work with doctors to give customers quality information on products and how to choose the ones that are right for them and are suitable with their other medications and conditions. We handpick SKUs by quality and demand from clients and practitioners.

#7 Rewards for loyalty

We started a rewards program. Our clients just have fun with it and can build points and rewards faster and higher than our competitors.