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The Comeback Pharmacy: Alumnus Mayank Amin PharmD'09 Works To Revive Community Pharmacy
In 1980, Mayank Amin’s parents migrated from India with only a 5 dollar bill and two pairs of clothes. Born and raised in Lansdale, Amin PharmD'09 grew up hearing stories of his parent’s struggles to provide for their family. In high school, he started his career in pharmacy by taking a job as a technician at a local pharmacy just a few miles away from his home.
“I was initially unsure if I wanted to pursue pharmacy but as I got a better understanding of how important pharmacies/pharmacists are in the community, I decided I want to make a difference and I chose pharmacy,” said Amin.
Fast-forward a few years, he graduated from University of the Sciences' Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 2009.
Flashing back to 1968, Skippack Pharmacy was a staple in the Skippack, Schwenksville, and Collegeville areas (Montgomery County) when Marvin Frankil and his son, Rob Frankil, the original owners, were operating the pharmacy. During that time, Skippack was one of the only local shops in town, which meant it was the go-to-store of its time.
Over many years, Skippack became a friendly face in the name of pharmacy by showing compassion for their patients, employees, and community. In 2013, Skippack went through a change in ownership and soon enough was sold to a major chain down the street. Thus, Skippack had closed its doors for the first time after nearly 50 years of business.
On one day patients were coming in to get their medications and without any notice the next day they were welcomed to red signs which were placed in the store’s windows stating that their prescriptions had been transferred. Nearby pharmacies placed signs outside their businesses welcoming Skippack’s patients.
“I did not think much of it initially but then took a drive by the old pharmacy and each time I would drive by I would see patients distraught looking in through the windows as if they had lost something very dear to them. Some of these patients were coming here for nearly 50 years and did not know where to go,” said Amin.
Amin quickly contacted the property manager and expressed his interests in opening the pharmacy back up in the exact original location so that he could create new patient encounters and a family of employees for the next generation. Several months later, the space was flipped, renovated and is now open for business to the community.
In order to keep the Skippack name relevant, Amin places a big emphasis on a sense of community and supporting small businesses as well as community partners.
“We have tried to use local shops for nearly everything we have done to reopen, including signage, interior design, and construction. We also have a charitable program that for every patient we see, we will provide a medication review and health essentials to an individual in an underserved area,” said Amin. While this program is in its infancy, Amin plans to start from ground zero and gain a customer base one patient at a time. Amin and his staff will be able to track, monitor, and continue to grow this program as their patient family grows.
When asking other pharmacists including the last owner about owning a pharmacy many advised him not to do it.
“They told me that right now is not a good time for pharmacy and gave me a whole bunch of reasons why I should not open this pharmacy. I come from a background where when someone says why, I ask why not? Patients still need medication, patients still want the family-feel they’ve gotten for generations, and patients still need to be taken care of. While there may be lower reimbursement rates from insurance companies along with other current issues, pharmacy owners can and will stick together to push pharmacy forward,” said Amin.
Skippack’s story is one of inspiration in this age of ever-closing small businesses. The sense of determination and the passion to serve for the greater good of others will never go out of business.
If you’re in the area and need to fill a prescription or want to meet the friendly staff, Skippack Pharmacy is located in an antique-village setting in Skippack Village, a strip of independent, family-owned shops that serve a variety of needs.
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