The Picton community gave its pharmacy’s new customer focus the thumbs up with its Business of the Year Award

When the Picton Discount Drug Store took out the Wollondilly Business of the Year Award this month, owner Nadim Assaf says “I was over the moon.”   

Mr Assaf bought the pharmacy, which was then a small independent, in 2015, with plans to focus strongly on professional services.

“When I bought the pharmacy, it had been around 30 odd years or so. I got along really well with the previous owner – he’s got a similar mindset to me, really customer-focused, and really professional services-based, which is where pharmacy’s heading as a whole.

“In 2016, we decided to undertake a big renovation. We created a professional services room in the pharmacy, and we teamed up with the medical centre next door to do immunisation clinics and whatnot.

“Since renovating, we brought in a lot more product range – because of the location, people had to travel to get items that the pharmacy didn’t hold before. Pricing was a factor, with a competitive market at the moment – it’s a very sensitive time.

“So we try to give our customers the best possible price, but we don’t compromise on staffing or services – there’s a point where you can’t afford to provide the professional services and that’s not the model we’re going for.”

Mr Assaf told the AJP that its next goal is to help improve customers’ health literacy.

“Patient education is a big issue. Obviously there’s a lot of information out there – Dr Google – and people don’t know what’s real and what isn’t. So that’s going to be our next big project, and then we’ve got pain management coming up soon.”

Despite making patients the focus of the business, Mr Assaf says he wasn’t expecting them to vote so strongly for his pharmacy.

“You put your time, and your mind and your heart into these things – but especially being a health and medicines-related industry and concerned with people’s wellbeing, you don’t know how people are going or what they thought until they come back.

“Rarely do they stand there on the spot and say, ‘Thanks for the advice’. So I think this is the community’s way of saying thank you to us, for being part of the community.”