SKIPPACK — A Lansdale man has worked day and night to reopen the Skippack community’s beloved pharmacy.
Skippack Pharmacy first opened in 1968 and was bought out by CVS Pharmacy in 2018. Although the chain bought the store's business operations, the building remained shuttered.
One day while driving, Dr. Mayank Amin saw a sign outside Walgreens, which read, "Welcome Skippack Pharmacy patients!"
He did not think anything of it at first, but after seeing it a few times, he decided to drive by the Skippack Pharmacy location.
Amin then realized that the area's beloved pharmacy had closed.
“I saw people looking into the window of the pharmacy. They looked as if they had lost something — as if they’d lost a family member,” Amin said.
Amin saw how much distress the pharmacy’s closing caused, and he decided to act on the issue.
“I wanted to do something that helps the community. It was a perfect opportunity for me to do something that helps people,” Amin said.
Amin went to doctors' offices and local shops to interview people in the area about their thoughts on him reopening the pharmacy.
“Almost everyone I went to said the same thing: The pharmacy was the heart of this town and if someone opened it back up, the community would come back together,” Amin said.
Amin decided to go for it. The pharmacy was left in very poor condition, so it proved to be a challenge to get the pharmacy back up and running.
"It was a challenge in terms of hours. It probably took 100 hours a week. Not just me, my parents,” Amin said.
The pharmacy’s reopening has brought the community back together. Patients of the pharmacy returned to the so-called "heart of the town" with great relief.
“I’ve had at least 15 or 20 people come in here crying of happiness — of how happy they were that we reopened,” Amin said.
Patients of Skippack Pharmacy are very passionate in their love for the pharmacy.
“People have come in and asked, ‘Do you guys have yard signs? I’m so happy that you’re opened; I want to put a yard sign in my yard,’” Amin said.
Many customers, such as Barbara Carfagno, love Skippack Pharmacy because it prioritizes the patient.
"What sets them apart is the 1-on-1 contact with each patient. They care about the community and care about the people," Carfagno said.
The pharmacy makes sure to prioritize its customers and the customers take note of how they all go out of their way to help.
"Dr. Amin once spent hours on the phone with my insurance to get my prescription covered," Carfagno said.
A part of making sure patients are getting the care they need is ensuring that they remember to take their medications.
“We’ve started a medication package program where we package someone’s medication a month at a time. The packet is set up to help them remember to take their medication,” Amin said.
This makes it easier for the pharmacy to check up on patients at the end of the month to help keep them on track.
The pharmacy also delivers to the homes of patients who are unable to come into the pharmacy.
The Skippack Pharmacy owner previously worked at Walgreens, which helps him see the special care family-owned pharmacies can offer as opposed to larger pharmacies.
“I don’t get paid to go deliver Gatorade or Pedialite to a patient with an upset stomach, but I’ll do it because we care. Those types of aspects are things I could not do when I worked for a large chain,” Amin said.
Skippack Pharmacy hopes to give customers that family-owned pharmacy feel they greatly missed.
“We don’t want to lose the feeling that people used to get in 1968, where they walk into a pharmacy and are greeted by first name. If they want water, we’ll give them a free bottle of water. If they’re struggling with something, we’ll go to their house and check up on them,” Amin said.
Another aspect that customers missed? Bonnie Alderfer, who worked at the pharmacy for over 50 years before its closing.
“She’s the gem of Skippack. If you talk to anyone in this town, they would say she is Skippack’s sweetheart,” Amin said.
Amin knew that if he wanted to reopen Skippack Pharmacy, Alderfer would be a key part to getting the place back in business.
Luckily, Alderfer was eager to get back to the pharmacy.
“I am so happy it is open again. I know everybody in town pretty much, and it was very hard to leave,” Alderfer said.
Alderfer, who had just gotten back from driving a delivery to a patient, believes that the pharmacy has even more of a community feel than it used to.
“I think the people who have come back so far realize that. I think that Mak (Amin) is even more community-oriented than previous owners,” Alderfer said.
Amin continuously prioritizes the community.
“This pharmacy is not mine. I might be the owner by title, but this is Skippack’s pharmacy,” Amin said.