Fred Cheng and his sisters literally “grew up” in the pharmacy business.
By Talbot Boggs
Photos by Desy Cheng
Their father started a pharmacy on the main street in Cloverdale, a subdivision of Surrey, B.C. in 1983, eventually moving in 1999 to a larger, 6,000 sq. ft. location. Cheng and his two sisters and one brother-in-law took over Pharmasave Cloverdale following his father’s retirement and did a major renovation in 2015, significantly expanding its compounding laboratory and consultation rooms to accommodate the pharmacy’s integrative healthcare focus.
The family opened up an existing counselling room and merged it with other space to create a 250 sq. ft. compounding area, which now has more than 400 different chemicals and is capable of producing up to 20 compounds a day, many of them specialty veterinarian formulations for farm animals and domestic pets. They also expanded their veterinary section, converting an entire 48 ft. long aisle (96 ft. of shelf space on both sides) to accommodate the large veterinarian OTC products section. “We do a lot of veterinary medicine and compounds for horses, cattle, sheep, goats and more exotic animals like llamas and even iguanas, as well as domestic pets for the growing number of young families who have moved into new condominiums in the last few years. We’ll even do house calls if needed,” Cheng says.
This part of the renovation also opened up a 300-sq.-ft. section to focus more on natural health. The family have put a real emphasis on providing customers with the latest in healthy products and health-related services. Cheng converted two aisles into 35 feet of shelving for vitamins, expanded his home healthcare section with walkers and wheel chairs, and launched a “buy local” program with a large natural food section featuring products from Kelowna-based Boned Broth Company. Boned Broth, featured on the popular CBC Dragons Den television program and brewed nearby in Cloverdale, makes broths that it claims are delicious while also non-GMO and dairy, gluten, antibiotic and preservative free.
The team built three new counselling rooms, which can be separated by dividers or opened up into one large area. The rooms are used for traditional pharmacy services such as medication reviews, travel assessments, yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, shingles and other vaccinations, compression stocking fittings, general consultations and seminars on lifestyle and wellness topics.
The pharmacy hosts a monthly Wellness Wednesday clinic to provide a venue for local healthcare professionals to connect with both people and pets in the community. It has an active Ideal Protein weight management program with two full-time coaches, provides one-on-one hormone therapy counselling, pain management, natural health and integrative medicine programs, and a travel clinic. Cheng has room to hold clinics for up to 150 people at one time.
“My father introduced the wellness theme into pharmacy practice more than 30 years ago and we began in-store clinics about 25 years ago, which have been very well received,” says his sister, Josephine Leonard. “Many people today want to do more to take care of themselves and are doing their own research. As healthcare professionals we can support them by bridging the gap between hearsay, self-research and the best therapies available.”
Cheng and his pharmacy team also are very active taking their specialized skills and services into the community, putting on seminars and clinics at local high schools and colleges and at local assisted living facilities, for which they do compliance packaging. Leonard runs a local full-day trade show on aging gracefully, and the pharmacy staff get involved in a variety of events to raise money for charities and other causes.
“Community involvement comes naturally to us,” says Leonard. “We support the community that supports us. It’s more than just dispensing drugs. We love networking within the community, giving back whenever we can, and seeing how that positively impacts our customers. It brings a smile to our faces when we know we have brought a smile to the faces of people within our communities.”
Store size: 6,000 sq. ft.
Renovation investment: $120,000
Services: veterinarian compounding for farm animals and domestic pets, travel assessments and clinic, travel and other vaccinations, Ideal Protein weight management, one-on-one hormone therapy counselling, compression stocking fittings, pain management, medication reviews, natural health and integrative medicine programs, compliance packaging, in-store and in-community clinics and seminars.
Employees: four owners, 12 full-time and one part-time staff.
Hours: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Mon- Fri; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sat; 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sun.