Old-Time Feel: New Pharmacy Incorporates Cafe, Market
Trey Waters chose downtown Southern Pines to integrate all of the knowledge he has gained as a pharmacist in the past decade.
“I started out working relief in other people’s pharmacies,” Waters says. “I did this for two long years and kept a journal of what worked and what didn’t.”
Specialty Pharmacy, which opened last month on Broad Street in the former Tina’s Turn space, is the eighth pharmacy that Waters has started in central North Carolina since 2004. But this time he added several new twists, including Specialty Cafe & Market in the adjoining space previously occupied by That’s A Deli.
“Each pharmacy has incorporated new elements, but I have never had the experience of integrating food, a market, a clinic, a lab and a pharmacy all into one,” he says. “It’s been a building process and now all the pieces have come together.”
Waters, 32, who lives in Southern Pines, picked Broad Street because he believes in a “vibrant and diverse” downtown.
“So this where I’d like to build the flagship pharmacy,” he says. “The concept is a throwback — a downtown apothecary where the pharmacist who knows you makes up personalized remedies unique to you.
“The focus is on wellness. The whole idea is to integrate the things that have been around for centuries with modern medicine.”
The old-time feel begins the minute one walks into the pharmacy. All of the products are displayed on handcrafted cabinets and shelves built by Mike Sorenson, a green builder and retrofitter of renewable and efficient energy solutions.
“This wood is so cool and really gives the pharmacy a unique look,” says Waters, pointing out a bullet still embedded in the swinging door at the end of the counter.
There are two compunding labs — sterile and nonsterile — in the middle of the space and a medical clinic in the back.
“We’re not going to be a doc-in-the-box,” Waters says. “It’s going to be by appointment only. I’d rather see the problem get fixed than managed.”
Alisa Sorenson, a registered nurse who will be the clinic’s patient care coordinator, says the clinic will focus on preventative medicine.
“Let’s catch people before they get sick,” she says. “Our goal is to help them with wellness as opposed to treating their illness.”
Sorenson has already consulted with patients at Waters’ other pharmacies.
“Alisa has produced tremendous results ... based on her training in medicine and her knowledge of alternative approaches,” Waters says.
Sorenson will also serve as the “bridge” between the pharmacy and the cafe.
“I’m going to be showing people how to make good choices,” she says. “The cafe is the next step after the education. In addition to serving food, we’re going to conduct cooking classes. The focus will be on proper nutrition.”
The cafe’s head chef is Maggie Gartman, a recent graduate of the natural chef program at the Pittsboro campus of Central Carolina Community College.
“My goal is to bring health to the kitchen,” Gartman says. “If you’ve got quality ingredients that are farm-fresh and health-based, you’ve got a good meal that makes you feel good.”
The cafe, which is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, will use products grown by local and regional farmers as much as possible.
“We really hope to celebrate the food that’s in this area,” Gartman says. “The tremendous success of Farm to Table shows that people in our community care about what they eat.”
Waters believes customers will also care about customized prescriptions, which is why he has two compunding labs.
“I love compounding because it’s a niche,” he says.
Compunding is the mixing of drugs by a compunding pharmacist to fit the unique needs of a patient. Before mass production of medications became normal, compunding was a routine activity among pharmacists. In fact, its practice dates back to the origins of pharmacy.
“The chain drugstores don’t focus on taking care of the patient,” Waters says. “Their focus is get them in, get them out. When I started out, my goal was to sell more prescriptions and make more money. I wanted to rock-and-roll, and we did.
“But this time we wanted to make an impact by doing something big that incorporates all of our knowledge and puts the customer first.”
Essentially, Waters wants the two businesses to be a one-stop shop for healthy living.
“We want to make money, of course, but we also want to give back,” he says. “Ten percent of our profit every Tuesday will go to a charity.”
Randal Moore, a public relations and marketing consultant, believes that Specialty Pharmacy has taken the industry “back to the future.”
“What you’ve got here is a perfect storm of different concepts,” Moore says.
Waters hopes that Moore is right.
“I often stay up late at night wondering if I left something on the table,” Waters says. “I am so humbled by this.”
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at email@example.com.
More like this story