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Tough decision

Tuesday, 20th June, 2017

South Pharmacy’s owner Andrew Johnson said the decision to move the business was a tough one. South Pharmacy’s owner Andrew Johnson said the decision to move the business was a tough one.

By Emily Roberts

The decision to move the South Pharmacy from Patton Street to the Coles complex wasn’t made lightly, according to the owner.

South Pharmacy’s owner, Andrew Johnson said he and the partners of Outback Pharmacies looked at many different options before finally deciding to move the pharmacy.

The announcement was made over the weekend, with plans to have the pharmacy moved and ready to open by August.

The pharmacy will be renamed ‘Broken Hill Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse’.

“I’ve been out here for 20 years and the South Pharmacy has been a big part of my life,” Mr Johnson said.

“I’ve been the owner for a fair chunk of that time.

“Myself, the South Pharmacy and the staff have all been involved with the South community.

“I was one of the first members on the Patton Village committee.

“We have a good sense of the community and what happened by losing Coles as far as business goes.”

Mr Johnson said there were concerns that another pharmacy would open at the complex and take business from the South Pharmacy.

“The pharmacy that was previously at the Coles complex had no PBS approval and they still took a significant amount of business from us when they were there,” he said.

“Subsidised scripts are about 60 per cent of the business.

“We thought if another pharmacy moved in there, there won’t be enough business for two and the South Pharmacy would have suffered long-term.

“That was part of the reason we decided to make the move.”

Mr Johnson said changes to prescriptions also played a part.

“The government is also changing the way it pays for prescriptions and that reduces money a pharmacy may get.

“To run successfully, you need to have a good front of shop, we tried to do a lot of things to increase that.

“But the South Pharmacy isn’t built to do that.”

The pharmacy had received quite a bit of feedback about the move, Mr Johnson said he been speaking with his regular customers over the past week to let them know about the changes.

“I know a lot of these people and see them all the time, I wanted to talk to them about it and let them know what was happening,” he said.

“The feedback is that the majority of people are sad that another service is moving from the South, but they have also said they shop at Coles anyway and it is more convenient.

“They are sad, like I am. They do want to see a pharmacy in a small shopping strip.

“But the reality is at the complex, they can drop off their scripts, get groceries, pick up their scripts and go home.”

The decision to move was not taken lightly.

“It was one of the hardest decisions all the partners had to make,” Mr Johnson said.

“All the partners, except for one, are local, they understand what a decision like this means to the South community.”

To help the South community, South Pharmacy will continue to offer free delivery of scripts, they will also have a drop-off box for scripts in Patton Street and the South Medical centre.

“We can go to a customer’s house and pick up scripts, if they can’t make it over the hill,” Mr Johnson said.

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