Before owner and pharmacist Jim Perrou opened West Olympia Pharmacy on Yauger Way, he used to manage a previous pharmacy in the same location.
He managed that business for several years before trying to buy it. Unsuccessful, Perrou finally opened Health Mart Pharmacy in DuPont in 2011.
But he didn’t go away for long because the former pharmacy he used to manage in west Olympia moved to Tumwater, creating a vacancy at 400 Yauger Way SW.
In October, Perrou returned to the setting of his previous job and opened West Olympia Pharmacy.
“I’m glad to be back,” he said, adding that he’s looking forward to working with the regular customers he used to know.
A lot has changed in the pharmacy world since Perrou left Purdue University in 2000, he said. And not necessarily for the better.
Health care insurance reimbursement rates continue to set new lows, which means it has become a volume business for all medical professionals, Perrou said. You need a certain number of customers balanced with the appropriate overhead costs to make the business work. And then you set yourself apart from the competition through customer service, he said.
That means getting to know your customers and their medications, providing advice and suggestions when you can, or packaging their medications in such a way that they know when and how many of each pill to take, Perrou said.
Common prescriptions in DuPont include anxiety medication and birth control, while Olympia is a little more typical for an older population: pills for blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.
Five years ago pharmacies rarely provided vaccinations, but now that’s a regular part of the job, he said.
And pharmacy drive-thru windows remain popular. One-third of his business takes place at the window, providing a convenience to many, including parents with sick children who would rather stay in the car than get out of it.
The drive-thru window at West Olympia Pharmacy has some history.
In October 2010, two robbery suspects attempted to steal the pharmacy safe, filled with prescription drugs, by wrapping it with a cable and then pulling it through the drive-thru window with their vehicle. The safe became dislodged and was left in the middle of the street.
The two suspects were later arrested, but claimed that after eating at Applebee’s they had discovered the safe in the middle of the road.
“This was not well thought out,” pharmacy manager Perrou said at the time.
West Olympia Pharmacy
Owner and pharmacist: Jim Perrou.
Location: 400 Yauger Way SW, Olympia.
Years in business: New. Business opened in October.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
Employees: Five, including one employee who works at both pharmacies. Perrou also owns the Health Mart Pharmacy in DuPont.
Did you know? Perrou served in the Navy for 10 years. It was during one of his ship deployments that he learned he had been accepted to Purdue University and its pharmacy program. The only problem was that his scheduled deployment wouldn’t end until after school started. He asked for permission to leave and was told his commanding officer would have to decide. In Perrou’s case, his commanding officer was the captain of the ship, but it turned out the captain was a Purdue graduate. Leave was granted, Perrou said.