I was on vacation in early September, 2006 when Jocelyn called me at home and told me that Rite Aid had just bought Brooks. I was stunned. Rite Aid had been in financial difficulty so I couldn't understand how they could afford it. Brooks Pharmacy was basically a New England company that had been really good to work for but had expanded in the last couple of years and the camaraderie that had been present in the smaller company no longer existed. I just didn't want to work for a huge chain. Jocelyn said to me that Lauren, one of our pharmacy technicians, thinks that you should open your own store. I immediately responded that if Jocelyn wanted to be my business partner, we could open our own independent pharmacy. She said let's do it and Montpelier Pharmacy was born. I went downtown, looked at several empty store fronts, and signed a lease the following day on our present site and we were on our way.
Then the work began. Permit after permit, Which bank? How do we finance this project? Which computer system? How do we sign up with all of the insurance companies? Which wholesalers? What about employees? How do we set up the books? Employee benefits and payroll. How do we let people know we're here? Are we nuts? Independent pharmacies just don't open anymore. Jocelyn and I split responsibilites and worked 80 hours a week for the next 4 months to get everything done. So many people were tremendously helpful to us. Burlington Drug in Milton, our primary wholesaler, helped finance the project and set up our over-the-counter items. Our banking was set up at Community National in Montpelier. Connor Contracting, Lamberton Electric, and Marineau Painting all did a great job of creating our pharmacy. Senator Leahy's office helped us get signed up with Medicare. Both The Times Argus and The Bridge ran front page stories on Montpelier Pharmacy. We did several radio ads and sent out a mailing, our green patient information sheet, to everyone in our business area. Our opening would be January 2, 2007.
We were overwhelmed by the response. People were coming in with their "green sheets" and wanted more so they could distribute them at work or to their neighbors. We were literally working from 6 in the morning until midnight every day for almost a month. I specifically remember one day when the entire store was completely filled up with people waiting to transfer their prescriptions to us. People waited for up to 2 hours and everyone, and I mean everyone, was having a great time, laughing, joking, talking with friends and neighbors. It had that town meeting feel to it. We were on our way to becoming one of the busiest pharmacies in the state.
As we have grown we have added many services. Our immunization service is a model for other pharmacies in the country. Jocelyn and I are both certified immunizers. We've given over 2000 immunizations and continue to expand our program. Jocelyn and I both have collaborative practice agreements for emergency contaception. Our promise to you is that we will continue to provide the best pharmaceutical care available.
Jocelyn and I would like to thank all of those people in the community who have been so supportive of our efforts.