Ali Kadibhai, founder of Midway Pharmacy, has created his business more in the image of the pharmacies of old where people used to visit to spend time together over light refreshments.
"Our differentiator is the customer contact," he said. "These days, there's no real personal connection at businesses. I emphasize every day that you have to connect with your customers. That's my biggest thing. That's our mission. Whether the customer is from a physician's office calling in with a question or is a patient who calls or walks in, you have to make a connection with them. Even if someone is asking for something not related to what we do, we help them. It's taking that extra five minutes. We've lost that personal connection with humans."
Midway Pharmacy calls itself a one-stop family pharmacy. It carries a range of items from nutritional supplements to medical equipment and does its own compounding for things like hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Kadibhai got his start working in small pharmacies that actually still had soda fountains, but moved to corporate chain pharmacies and was promoted up the ranks.
"I got promoted to cover a Florida region and was in charge of managing 22 stores for a big box pharmacy," he explained. "After economic downturn, their model changed to not taking pharmacists as professionals and empowering them with knowledge to increase business. Instead it became only about driving numbers like how quickly we answered calls and time spent per customer. There were no personal metrics. I wasn’t enjoying chasing numbers."
In 2011, Kadibhai struck out on his own to launch Midway Pharmacy. Now employs six staff and enjoys mentoring young pharmacists to teach them how to launch their own pharmacy. Kadibhai enjoys teaching and helping all his staff to better understand the business side of the pharmacy.
"Go with your passion," he said. "If you're passionate, you'll make it. Too many people keep their passion on the back burner and go with what's easiest."