The pandemic has changed many things, and in some cases for the better.
One local example is the manifestation of a dream come true. After working for someone else for 30 years, this past September local pharmacist Frank Longo decided to take a risk and strike out on his own.
He opened East End Pharmasave on December 1st in Churchill Plaza, Sault Ste. Marie, together with his partner, Jordan Jack.
“It’s been a dream of mine to open and own my own store for forever,” says Longo. “This tremendous opportunity presented itself and I jumped at the chance.”
The timing was great. Longo’s kids are older now so he has more time to devote to the business.
As you can imagine, after working with patients for three decades, he has developed many very close relationships. “I know everything about them so they’re more than just patients, they’re family now,” he says. “I’ve known them so long; I have a vested interest in their health because they’re my friends now.”
For Longo the biggest perk of the job is definitely the people. The work is rewarding for him personally and professionally because he knows everyone by their first names, knows everything about them and their families. Many of his patients’ kids now come to see him.
The relationship between pharmacist and patient is such an intimate one. Patients really have to feel comfortable and trust that their pharmacist truly cares and is looking out for them.
“A good pharmacist is someone who goes above and beyond the basic level of care,” says Longo. “You do the extra little things, like going to their house to deliver their medications or calling them up after surgery and asking if they’re feeling better. It’s a relationship, it’s personalized pharmacy care.”
These aren’t mere job requirements. Longo says there’s naturally a lot of empathy involved; he feels what his patients are going through and wants to make them better, he considers himself an advocate for their health. He wants his patients to get better and to stay well.
“That’s my unique brand of pharmacy practice—knowing the patient as a whole as opposed to filling the prescription. It’s more than just the prescription, it’s about the patient.”
Longo has advice for all of us as we head into the new year. “You can see the light at the end of the tunnel. There should be a vaccine very, very soon,” he assures. “In the meantime, just be patient and keep safe. Stay the course. Don’t get quarantine or social distancing fatigued, we’re almost there and the end is in sight.”
Pharmasave seems the ideal fit for Longo. It’s an independent banner, not a chain, and each store is independently owned. Well-established and highly respected, the company has a great reputation for providing pharmacy services. Their pharmacists are usually well known and have strong relationships with their patients.
It dovetails so perfectly with Longo’s approach. “I practice the same way. That’s why it was so tempting and exciting and almost a no-brainer to join up with Pharmasave.”
“Basically it’s a lifelong dream of mine to do this,” admits Longo. “I’m pretty nervous and anxious, but it’s exciting at the same time.”
He hopes to create a warm environment for people to come in and feel welcome, where everyone is known by their first name. Patients can expect to receive outstanding, trusted, knowledgeable care, informed advice and timely service.
Says Longo, “I want them to feel part of the family.”
For more information, visit East End Pharmasave or call 705-450-4819. The new store is located at 150 Churchill Boulevard in the Churchill Plaza.