Yusuf Kadibhai has always been a go-getter. Even at a young age, he had a strong desire and passion to become an entrepreneur. He built a strong network marketing organization while at Florida State University. He also learned to trade stocks and was able to create multiple streams of income while still in college. When Kadibhai finished his studies at FSU in 2015, he moved to Austin, TX, and pursued an opportunity to lead a sales role for Capital Connect, a major alarm and home automation solutions company. He gained valuable experience working in a direct sales force team. In late 2015, Kadibhai's father, Ali Kadibhai, who founded Midway Pharmacy in 2011, was ready to expand and needed additional expertise.
"He called and asked if I was interested," Kadibhai said. "I never really considered it in the past, but it was a great opportunity and I was excited. I joined my father around January of 2016. I immediately got to work redeveloping our brand, redoing our logo, creating new marketing materials, redesigning the website, renovating the pharmacy and bringing everything up-to-date. At the time, it was just a small mom and pop pharmacy, but had the potential for so much more. We researched the market and found a great new location in Port Charlotte. We went from 800 total square feet to 3,500. Our focus being primarily on Health & Wellness and personalized medicine tailored to each individual patient. This is called Compounding." Kadibhai's program and model was tailored around growth and helping their employees to reach their full potential. Kadibhai invested heavily in his team and sent a few team members to get trained at Professional Compounding Centers of America in Houston, Texas.
When Kadibhai first came on-board, he had a lot to learn about the pharmacy industry and the business behind it. His two biggest mentors and supporters were his dad and financial advisor, Edmon Rakipi. He truly feels that without their constant advise and support, he wouldn't be where he is at today. Midway carries a range of items from nutritional supplements to medical equipment and all the prescription and over-the-counter medication you'd expect to find in a big box pharmacy. Kadibhai spent a lot of time learning about the different drugs, including ingredients and side effects. He also spent time getting out in the community and meeting with doctors offices. He'd give presentations to various professionals informing them of Midway Pharmacy and the products and services they offered.
What sets Midway Pharmacy apart from the big box pharmacies is its commitment to the customer. Certain industries, in particular the pharmacy industry, have seen a sharp decline in good customer service. Midway prides itself on the fact that you can talk to your pharmacist and not feel rushed or that you're inconveniencing them. You're able to interact with employees that truly care about you and know your medical history. It's a refreshing change. Since Kadibhai joined the business, Midway pharmacy reached its highest sales benchmarks and received the Best Pharmacy in Town Award in Charlotte county.
Kadibhai's father retired last year, leaving Kadibhai in charge of a growing operation. "Once we relocated the store and successfully completed the transition, my father felt comfortable to step away," he said. "He's taken an advisory role, leaving me in charge of day-to-day operations. Besides focusing on growing the compounding part of our business, for things like hormone replacement therapy (HRT), I'm also focused on hiring entrepreneurial type pharmacists and mentor/training them to eventually own and run their own stores. The Port Charlotte store serves as the training ground. I'll bring them on board, teach them the business and after they're fully trained, set them up with their own store. Now they're partial owners of their own 'baby'. We've already done several in Florida and one in Dallas, Texas. Sarasota Apothecary in Sarasota, FL and Gulf-Care Pharmacy in Lakewood Ranch, Fl are the newest brands."
Looking ahead, Kadibhai will continue to use Midway Pharmacy as the training ground for new pharmacists and expand locations throughout Florida, and eventually across the country, under the Gulf Care Pharmacy brand name. Aside from scaling his concept, maintaining a focus on trust and customer service, is paramount to Kadibhai. "There's a real disconnect between physician, patient and pharmacist and that's something I'm committed to strengthening," he said. "Your doctor has no idea if you picked up your prescription, if there were any side effects or if you're taking your medication as prescribed. Patients notice the lack of attention and detail in the prescription and pharmacy world. I'm always looking for solutions to make our customers safer and happier."
What advice does Kadibhai have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "It's possible to find your passion in something you don't necessarily like," he said. "Within that job or industry, there's probably an area you like and can develop. I wasn't passionate about pharmacy, but I was passionate about the business end of it. I wanted to do the marketing work, develop the brand and make a positive impact in our community. Find passion in whatever you do and make the best of it. Put in the time and effort and work hard. It will open doors and people will take notice. It's also important to get uncomfortable and to learn about the things you don't know about."
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