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As an independent pharmacy owner, David Damaske has a unique background that he brings to the table. In addition to completing his Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Business Administration, he has also worked on the hospital management side of healthcare. He has director-level experience working in some of the largest health systems in the US, having served as Director of Pharmacy at both Baylor Scott & White Health and Texas Health. Three years ago, he decided to change direction and satisfy his ‘entrepreneurial itch’ by opening Beaker Pharmacy in McKinney, TX. “Working on the hospital side, I was used to managing a lot of people and taking on a lot of interesting scenarios. I’ve always had a knack for the business side as well. And so, I was able to put those skills together to open my own pharmacy,” explains Damaske. “I honed a lot of skills as a Director of Pharmacy because I had to learn to talk to physicians, manage budgets, and look at things clinically. Bringing those aspects to an independent world helped make the transition easier.”
David Damaske turned to Independent Rx Consulting for guidance on opening a new community pharmacy. They helped make the process as seamless as possible and introduced him to PioneerRx Pharmacy Software. “The recommendation was PioneerRx all the way,” David says. “You could tell the software was very user-friendly, very powerful, and there was a lot you could do with it. It's basically one system for everything you need.” This all-in-one solution, which includes compounding capabilities and integrations with shipping companies, worked well with Beaker’s business model.
Beaker Pharmacy is a hybrid pharmacy, focusing on both retail and compounding. They currently have a non-sterile lab in the back of their store, but they are working towards building a sterile compounding lab soon to expand their compounding capabilities. In addition to serving human patients, they also serve their furry counterparts through pet compounding. “We've had a lot of success stories in the veterinary world,” David explains. “I think pet compounding is a [valuable] service because pets are a member of the family.” Compounding for pets comes down to having the right products on hand and being able to tier your approach depending on the unique needs of each animal. This is just one of the ways that Beaker Pharmacy provides personalized care for their patients.
David and his all-star team at Beaker Pharmacy also pride themselves on their provider relationships. These relationships open them up to networking partnership opportunities and also demonstrate to patients that they are trusted by doctors across the state of Texas. Their flexibility as a community pharmacy helps them work fluidly with providers and patients alike. As an independent local business, you can better serve your patients’ needs without the hassle and roadblocks that you might find at a chain store. “As an independent pharmacy, we’re just a lot more flexible,” says David frankly. “If we need to stock something for Mrs. Jones because it works better for her or help patients out with pricing - we're able to do that. And that's just the more personalized touch of an independent pharmacy.”
As part of their marketing growth strategy, the Beaker team always takes the chance to build relationships with local providers and remind them to think of Beaker Pharmacy whenever they need certain prescriptions filled or custom compounded medications. “We always take the opportunity if a physician calls in a prescription to ask ‘Do they know about us?’” David emphasizes. “Let's market our pharmacy and tell them a quick two-minute spiel of what we do and how we can help them. They may have an office down the street, so if they know we're here, then we can help them with some of their patient needs.”
Knowing the unique value that your pharmacy offers and effectively communicating your value to providers is a powerful way to grow your business. Listen as Amina Abubakar dives into this topic on the Catalyst Pharmacy Podcast:
In addition to pitching their services to physicians and other providers, Beaker Pharmacy’s marketing strategy includes a large social media presence and high usage of Google search advertising. It’s all about getting the word out there and letting patients and providers know that your pharmacy is a resource for them. No one else is going to do it for you - so you have to be your greatest promoter. It’s important to connect with your existing patients and potential new patients through a variety of channels, in order to cast a wider net.
“I still do work the bench a good bit,” begins David Damaske. “I also help with a lot of the marketing strategy as well. If I'm not physically out doing it, I'm heavily involved in it. Just so we know where to grow, who to go see, what to do.” The Beaker Pharmacy team even has a team member solely dedicated to their marketing strategy, Teri. Teri focuses on marketing the value of Beaker Pharmacy and getting the word out about their products and services. One of the unique ways she accomplishes this is by posting videos on their official Facebook profile where she details new product offerings in a casual, personal way. When they added a new CBD product line to their pharmacy, Teri went to Facebook and showed off the exciting new products to customers online. David also joins in on this by posting videos featuring “Recommendations from your local pharmacist.” Video content is a fast-growing medium that effectively grabs viewers’ attention, and by speaking directly to customers, the Beaker team is able to form a better connection with them.
It’s clear that independent pharmacies cannot focus on dispensing prescriptions alone to grow their business. David Damaske knows that in order to ensure the success of his business, his pharmacy must be multifaceted. In addition to dispensing prescriptions, Beaker Pharmacy offers a range of compounding services, sells a broad selection of front-end products, administers vaccinations, and offers counseling to patients throughout their health journey. During the pandemic, they have stepped up to offer COVID-19 vaccinations at their store as well as performed mobile vaccinations on-site for local businesses. Beaker Pharmacy is focused on providing their community with a variety of services that meet their healthcare needs.
By being involved in organizations such as NCPA, CPESN, and the Texas Pharmacy Association, as well as their local Chamber of Commerce, Beaker Pharmacy is staying in tune with the industry and their local community. It’s all about building that foundation of trust - if you are passionate about elevating your pharmacy’s quality of care and proving that to your patients and to other providers, your business will have a strong foundation for growth and success.