With over 5 years working with Vital Care, Steven Brindley knows what it’s like to make the jump from retail pharmacy to infusion pharmacy. Steven is the owner of Brindley’s Family Pharmacy and Vital Care, located in Albertville, Alabama.
The Brindley’s Vital Care location was in the Top 10 performing franchises for 2018. The Brindley’s Family Pharmacy was also tapped as the Albertville Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Small Business of the Year.
We’ve asked Steven to take a few minutes and share with us what it’s like as a Vital Partner, running a Vital Care infusion pharmacy franchise.
How did you first hear about Vital Care or infusion pharmacy?
I discovered Vital Care when I was looking looking for ways to diversify our pharmacy. We wanted to create another revenue stream and still be able to provide the quality care that we’re accustomed to at Brindley’s pharmacy.
What do you most enjoy about running a Vital Care infusion pharmacy?
Learning new avenues of pharmacy! It’s always a challenge to grow professionally to learn something else. It keeps you having to stay up on what’s coming down the pipeline.
Because to be a good clinician you’ve got to stay on top of it, and then to be a good business person you also need know what’s coming.
What was it like adding infusion services as a revenue stream to your existing pharmacy?
It was a completely different change for us. For me, I was ready for the next challenge. We’d done well with retail, and we were able to help our immediate community and we were looking for ways to grow that.
One thing we always enjoy is being able to give back to our city… to the people that helped us. We saw that our community, being in rural Alabama, was an underserved population. We really wanted to reach out to those providers that knew it was an option, but didn’t know it was an option for us.
So, to assist with those needs and to see those immediate outcomes of patients has been great. Plus, working hand-in-hand with other providers to provide continuity of care has been something we’ve enjoyed.
Our day-to-day did change. It became more structured. Because in retail, you don’t know when the rush is going to happen. You can always produce a plan for pharmacy or retail. But as soon as they say it’s going to snow on Thursday, the world goes bananas on Tuesday.
What were some early struggles while establishing your Vital Care infusion pharmacy franchise?
The most difficult part of starting was getting out of our comfort zone.
Some of the downside when we first got started was being on-call. It became very difficult at times to make plans. Because you knew as soon as you skipped out of town, then there may be a problem.
I’ll never forget during our first year one of our patients that required a lot of hands on deck called me New Year’s Eve night at 2:00 AM. And, it was fine. We figured it out! We were able to to to provide care to the patient.
But once you get the business off the ground, it does provide a lot of flexibility in your life.
How has becoming a Vital Care franchise owner affected your work-life?
It’s allowed me to spend more time on my business. Because you can’t do everything, so you had to provide the proper ancillary staff to provide care for all those patients.
So for instance, if you’re on call, you had to have another pharmacist. Because you can’t do it all…at all times.
What's your favorite part of working with the Vital Care corporate office?
The support they provide for us is second to none. They’re small enough to know your name, but large enough to shape your future. When you call, you can always leave with an answer. Their support is unparalleled.
Say you have a friend thinking of starting a Vital Care infusion pharmacy. What advice do you give them?
Full disclosure: it’s not for everyone.
The key is don’t be scared. There’s a thousand clichés I could use here: don’t be scared…trust the process…leaps of faith. Right?
If they’re looking into it, they’re looking for something. And if you’re looking for a way to provide another revenue stream, this would definitely be a rabbit hole that I would chase, for sure.