Robert W. Sopocy B.S. RPh.
About Family Drug Mart
I opened Family Drug Mart, the first pharmacy in Port St. John, in 1985. Since that time the population of Port St. John and vicinity has exploded. There are now a total of four pharmacies in our area so we have survived some stiff competition to remain #1. We started just a block north of our current location. In July 1985, but outgrowing that space we moved to our current larger location at the corner of Poinsetta Street and U.S. Highway.
We made this a more customer friendly atmosphere with a consultation area and a pharmacy department that is built at floor level so my patients and I are more able to speak eye to eye. We also added a drive-thru window at a time when this type of service was uncommon.
My roots in pharmacy were planted by my father, Steve. He bought his first pharmacy on the South Side of Chicago in 1950. My dad graduated from the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy in 1943, my brother Steve (CVS-Chicago) in 1972 and myself in 1973. My younger brother Jim (CVS-Cocoa Beach, Fl) graduated from the University of Florida College of Pharmacy in 1979. My daughters Allison and Karen work for me as pharmacy technicians, thus the name FAMILY DRUG MART.
When I opened my store, I was the first Good Neighbor Pharmacy in Florida. Bergen Brunswig was just launching the program in Florida about the time I opened, and the GNP program seemed to have all the elements I thought I needed to run a successful drug store.
Private Label was the most important element to me at the time, because it would help me build my image and there is more margin selling private label. I wanted to be consistent throughout the store, so a brand like GNP made sense.
We put Good Neighbor Pharmacy on all are identification along with Family Drug Mart, and that's the image we built. As GNP grew, and as our advertising program expanded, we were starting to be viewed as part of a chain. While we built our business on personal customer attention, and we are viewed as part of the community, GNP helped built the image of a chain with its own private label stocked at GNP stores throughout the nation, and with a chain image came the impression that we sold for less, thus a really good value to our customers.
There are so many valuable programs in GNP and they have grown tremendously since 1985, but private label along with the circular program is what drew me to GNP.