Samford Chemmart: A local pharmacy for local people

Samford Chemmart: assisting little kid with injury

The prestigious Guild Pharmacy of the Year Award is set to be announced at next week’s APP2016 conference on the Gold Coast: in this series, AJP profiles the finalists

There are two things the residents of Samford, a village 30 minutes from the centre of Brisbane, don’t like: change, and franchised businesses, says Karen Brown, owner of the Samford Chemmart.

So when she bought into the pharmacy eight years ago and wanted to brand the then independent pharmacy as a Chemmart, she knew she was going to have to create something very special.

“Samford is really unique,” says Brown. “It’s only 30 minutes from Brisbane CBD, but you go over a mountain range to get to Sanford, and everything’s acreage: the people think of themselves as a little country town despite being only eight minutes’ drive from Ferny Grove. They’ve blocked Woolworths coming to Samford for about 10 years ago, now – there’s no Woolworths, no McDonalds and no Subway.

“When we purchased eight years ago, the owner was a local lady who’d had the pharmacy for 30 years!

“The way to the hearts of the locals was to embrace them and give back to them, and that’s how we’ve been accepted so quickly – we’re one of them.”

The Samford Chemmart Pharmacy is one of five finalists in the 2015 Guild Pharmacy of the Year Award.

One of its biggest achievements is the Samford Health Expo, which has brought together the residents and health professionals of Samford in an event that’s growing rapidly and has now secured funding from Council and the local tourism body.

“I thought, what a great way an expo would be to showcase all the health businesses in the street,” Brown told the AJP.

“It started in 2014. We had all the allied health professionals showcasing what we have in the village, and guest speakers did talks as well.

“Last year we moved venues, to the main park on the street, and expanded it to a Health and Wellbeing Expo – we had groups like the local sporting clubs and community groups like the Men’s Shed. We had healthy food and drink stalls, demonstrations on stage, Pilates and yoga, and music groups.

“This year we’ve been approached by Samford Commons, which is a sustainability organisation, and the Expo will be about Health, Wellbeing and Sustainability. We’ve also been approached by Council and Moreton Bay Tourism; the Expo has never been about making money but they gave us $10,000 towards promotion.

“There are 120 stalls already on our list for this year!”

Brown says that as well as making locals aware of their local health organisations, the networking which has grown out of the Expo has been invaluable.

“We’ve created the Samford health professionals group, which meets every two months, and rotates businesses,” she says. “Last week we had a pain session; in March the physios are hosting another meeting. We’ve got chiropractors, acupuncturists, podiatrists all coming along.

“A lot of the non-profit organisations have grown out of it as well. The podiatrist didn’t know the Men’s Shed existed, but now he tells his clients about them. From a community perspective this has been huge.”

Read more about the Samford Chemmart in the Autumn 2016 edition of Business Class.

Image courtesy Pharmacy Guild of Australia

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