Resolution: Invest in my store’s infrastructure

December 20, 2018By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy, Resolutions for Independent Pharmacies

By Steve Choate, business development manager, for the Resolutions for Independent Pharmacies blog series

Do you know that nearly 10% of our country’s bridges – 58,495 out of 609,539 – are considered structurally deficient and need repairs? This is according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. It would take an estimated $115 billion to bring these bridges up to safety standards. That is a staggering statistic! Why did this happen? Money wasn’t spent on routine maintenance to keep the bridges in good repair.

This same thing can happen to your store if you do not review its infrastructure and perform routine maintenance and upgrades. I am not suggesting you totally change your store’s appearance by gutting it and starting over. I am recommending you complete an analysis of your store’s windows, doors, shelving, flooring, ceiling tiles, cash registers, pharmacy systems, lighting, heating and AC systems, roofing, interior and exterior paint, and signage, and then create 1-, 3-, 5-, and 10-year prioritized plans to update, fix, and/or replace items or areas.

When you complete a comprehensive assessment, you will understand the urgency with which each element needs to be addressed and can plan and save for these projects over time instead of reacting to emergency situations. You do not want your air conditioning to fail in Phoenix when it is 117 degrees outside nor be in Fairbanks, Alaska in the dead of winter when it’s minus 25 degrees and your heating system fails. Planning will help make these investments a little easier to layout

Once you have reviewed your infrastructure and finished your priority list, check local resources that may be available to help with related costs. You may not have to undertake it all yourself. Many local electrical utilities have programs to help when businesses upgrade their lighting to more energy efficient systems such as LED lighting. For instance in Wisconsin, the Focus on Energy program partners with retailers across the state to offer instant discounts on select ENERGY STAR® certified LED bulbs. (See the Focus on Energy website - for more details.) In some communities, the Chamber of Commerce may offer grants or low-interest loans for businesses to maintain and/or upgrade their outside facade. In my hometown of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, they are trying to revitalize the historic downtown area, and have in the past offered funding for local businesses to update their store and/or business exteriors. Investigate what your town may be able to offer in the way of financial assistance.

By regularly investing in and performing updates, fixes, and/or replacements of your infrastructure, you not only potentially avoid emergency store closure, you also continue to offer your associates and customers a safe and inviting place to work and shop!