Some businesses just belong together

January 2, 2014By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy

Posted by Jen Johnston

Some businesses just belong together. When I was in my 20’s and more into the craft scene, I envisioned a group of retailers who would take over a space and create a destination location of independent shop owners that met virtually every need a crafter would have. So from sewing, to beading, to scrapbooking, etc., you would find specialty independent retailers in this center, along with a shared classroom space that could be partitioned off into smaller classrooms, complete with a kitchen area for all day events. Also connected would be a bookstore focused on crafts, a coffee shop, and outdoor spaces where people could gather. There was a lot more to it, but you get the general idea.

Yes, I was a big dreamer. Some would say the mega chains like JoAnn Fabric, Michaels, or Hobby Lobby already fill this need. I say they may sell the products – but the NEED goes far beyond that to the experience of a shared community. It’s the thing that people search for online via social networks – only they want it in real life, too.

That’s the thing that is often missing from retail today – community.

How does this relate to health, beauty, and wellness retailing? Let me repeat myself: Some businesses just belong together. I have a new vision now. I envision a group of often missing from retail today - communitywellness-focused businesses taking over a space to form a family living center.

What’s included in this mash-up of wellness businesses? Family practice doctors, a 24-hour gym, onsite certified holistic health coaches, a free-standing birth center, and a niche grocer in the “farmer’s market” style, just to name a few. And at the heart of it all? A progressive independent pharmacy that not only fills prescriptions, but also has a large front-end dedicated to serving the needs of families who wish to truly live well, naturally. The pharmacy also holds the large classroom space where the community gathers for yoga, healthy living classes, and more.

Community is so important because it keeps people coming back. Products alone can’t truly achieve this because products can be purchased anywhere. But the experience one feels when they connect with a community is huge and can only be found where community is valued and cultivated.

Ok, so maybe my vision of this wellness center isn’t truly realistic for most stores, but have you considered partnering with your neighbors to offer joint wellness initiatives, incentives, referrals, etc.? What about partnering with other local businesses to offer your loyal customers a picnic? You can still create the community feeling without the family living center. Just give your customers a place to gather for classes, seminars, and events, and simply be well together. Make your store a place that people want to be. Give them a community, and yet another reason to keep coming back.

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