How to Successfully Diversify Your Pharmacy

“Never say ‘no’, unless it’s followed by ‘problem’ – which means ‘no problem, we can get that for you’”

That’s the kind of philosophy that guides Northern Pharmacy and Medical Equipment in Baltimore, Maryland. Their mission is to provide ultimate expert advice, superior service in various departments, and solutions to help their customers and patients live healthier lives.

Founded by Martin Mintz in 1968, Northern has grown immensely from its start as a small corner pharmacy with a grand total of about 5 employees. Today, they are still dedicated to their local community, but have also expanded their business nationally and even internationally.

President and COO Pepper Mintz has been involved in her family’s business since she was just 6 years old. She has watched the company grow to 168 employees in 3 locations and diversified to include long-term care, compounding, specialty pharmacy, and even durable medical equipment. According to Mintz, they are “known as the place that can get anything, and will get anything” for their customers.

The addition of DME all started with a customer walking in and looking for a wheelchair. This was not something that Northern provided at the moment, but it did not stay that way for long. They found a wheelchair for that customer and continued to provide any medical equipment or supplies that their customers needed.

Mintz admits there are obstacles to successfully diversifying your business, from government regulations to extensive employee training. However, the easiest path is not always the most rewarding.

“Being so diversified, all of your eggs are not in one basket, which is great in the healthcare world that we live in today,” she points out.

If you’re looking to branch out your pharmacy, think about your community first. Listen to what your patients are asking for and how you can incorporate this into your business. Pepper Mintz explains that almost all of Northern’s services were added in response to customer inquiries.

Her biggest piece of advice? – “Educate yourself on it.”

“[Make] relationships with companies that already do something that you’re looking to do. . .go to the seminars, go to the conferences, and find out all you can about what you’re looking to go into,” Mintz suggests.

It takes hard work and determination to implement a new addition to your business but Northern Pharmacy & Medical Equipment has proven that the possibilities are endless, no matter how humble your beginnings may be.

“If you have the drive and the passion and the will to learn as much as you can. . . then it’s always worth it.”
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