Customers know something is different about Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy as soon as they step through the doors of one of its locations. Traditional pharmacy services and products are offered alongside holistic remedies and supplements, and the staff includes not only credentialed pharmacists but also practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine such as herbalists, naturopathic doctors and chiropractors.
“Pharmaca is a unique and innovative retail concept – there’s nothing else like it in the United States today,” says Laura Coblentz, vice president of marketing and innovation for the Boulder, Colo.-based company. “This is a store that has wide appeal for consumers interested in being proactive about their health and wellness.”
The company was founded in 2000 in response to growing consumer interest in integrative medicine, which combines allopathic medicine with complementary and alternative treatments. Many in the medical community are embracing integrative medicine and now roughly 30 percent of all U.S. medical schools offer a degree in integrative medicine. “Pharmaca’s founders recognized that these trends reflected an increased consumer interest in a retail pharmacy like Pharmaca – one that offered an integrative approach to health, wellness and medicine,” she adds.
Pharmaca’s shelves are stocked with a broad selection of supplements, including professional brands such as Metagenics and Pure Encapsulations, as well as spa-quality beauty products from brands such as Jurlique, Jane Iredale, Dr. Hauschka and many others.
The company operates 24 stores in Colorado, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. Its 25th store will open in May 2014 in Denver, Colo., with more stores anticipated in the near future. Each store is located in a market where there is significant potential for the integrative medicine model.
“We believe there’s interest in communities across the country for what Pharmaca offers,” Coblentz says. “Along with expanding our brick and mortar footprint into new markets, we will also be focused on growing e-commerce sales – with the end goal of creating a strong multi-channel business centered around integrative health.”
Pharmaca has been investing in new technology, including a new mobile app that allows customers to request prescriptions refills or shop the e-commerce site right from their phone. The company also recently implemented a new online pharmacy interface and continues to leverage its loyalty program.
“We’re a very data-driven company,” Coblentz explains. “Our loyalty program is a large part of how we market to customers.”
The company’s loyalty program offers store credit back for prescriptions filled and retail purchases once quarterly spending and prescription filling goals are reached. “This gives us the ability to understand what our customers are buying and serve them targeted offers and communication,” she adds.
‘An Appealing Environment’
An experienced team of staff members, well-versed in a variety of wellness disciplines, is at the heart of the company’s unique business model. “Our practitioner-based service model is one of the most unique and powerful aspects of our business -- customers have positive relationships with our practitioners,” Coblentz notes.
These team members guide customers through the store’s selection of over-the-counter medications, alternative remedies and other products. The company operates with a flat management structure that empowers staff on all levels to make decisions. “We trust, respect and support every team member and work as one team,” the company says. “The synergy of our efforts makes work a place of delight, creativity and fulfillment.”
Staff members are offered an extensive benefits package that includes health and wellness-related programs. Training and professional development programs are also offered.
“Because our team members are what make Pharmaca unique and special, we’re very focused on retention,” Coblentz says. “That’s why it’s so important for us to offer an appealing work environment.”