Independence, Kansas, not unlike many other rural Kansas communities, had a downtown pharmacy for as many years as the town is old.
As often happens in rural communities, businesses either close, or if viable, are sold to a company with no ties to the community. In this case, the pharmacy sold to a national franchise. And with the sale, DeFever Osborn Drug, an icon in Independence since 1937, was closed and a new facility was constructed outside the downtown area.
Terry Scott, who owned the downtown building that had previously housed the pharmacy, believed Independence still needed the services provided by a hometown pharmacy and by someone from the community who took special interest in keeping the downtown area vital.
In 2008, Scott approached B.G. Tucker to combine forces bringing Scott’s chemistry education and Tucker’s financial experience together to form Independence Pharmacy, Inc. As part of the startup process, the team approached a local lender, Community National Bank in Coffeyville to back their venture. Community National then recommended the resources of the Kansas Small Business Development Center (KSBDC) at Pittsburg State University.
KSBDC consultant, Cindy Triplett, lent her expertise as a former commercial lender with exceptional SBA loan experience. Together the team began the exploration and discovery process essentially building the business from the ground up.
Pharmaceutical sales is a highly regulated industry at both the state and federal levels. Medicare Part B had just undergone a regulatory change that was effective the day the Independence Pharmacy opened for business. Triplett worked with Scott and Tucker by literally spending a great deal of time on the phone with the Kansas Board of Pharmacy/Kansas Pharmacists Association to gain enough information on the licensing accreditation process to help Tucker with contacts that could remove the bottlenecks in the application process. Additionally, the team of Triplett, Scott, and Tucker worked through evaluation of several point-of-sale (POS) systems which owners Scott and Tucker credit with keeping their business going while complying with the extensive tracking and reporting they are required to provide to state and federal regulatory agencies today.
To help Scott and Tucker develop a viable business plan and projections that could be used to secure funding, Triplett tapped into KSBDC market research resources including potential in-depth customer demographics to develop accurate cash flow projections that were used to secure the loan and provide a compass for Independence Pharmacy as the business grows. Triplett also met jointly with a Certified Development Company and the clients to explain the loan process and how it was influenced by collateral, equity injection into the business, owner experience in the industry, and stability of the industry so the broader team could define the best asset management strategy for both start-up and future growth.
Fortitude, persistence, and team work paid off. On September 1, 2008, Independence Pharmacy opened their doors in downtown Independence.
Independence Pharmacy identified a hole and filled that hole in their community. They continue to compete against other independent pharmacies, mail order distributors, franchises, and the latest insurance health care contracts favoring the national chain stores. By defining their niche market and services, as well as the processes they need to have in place to better serve their customers, the company has found their place in the market.
As for advice for anyone starting a business, Independence Pharmacy advises, “Surround yourselves with good people and have patience and perseverance.”
Find Independence on Facebook | 620-331-3784
Assisted by Cindy Triplett, KSBDC Consultant | KSBDC at PSU | Pittsburg. PSU KSBDC | 620.235.4920 | pittstate.edu/bti/sbdc | firstname.lastname@example.org
Represented by Senator Pat Roberts | Senator Jerry Moran | Fed. Dist. #2 – Lynn Jenkins | State Sen. Dist.#15 – Jeff King | State Rep. Dist.#11 – James Kelly