Cherry’s Pharmacy, located on the Upper Eastside of Manhattan, is a specialized pharmacy catering to the needs of children and families. Underneath the bright red awning is a small store front packed full of carefully selected items for your medicine cabinet, and a dedicated staff that are willing to answer your every sleep-deprived question concerning your family’s health. Charles Tabouchirani, pharmacist and father of two, is the sole proprietor.
1) When and how did the concept of specialized kids pharmacy begin?
After working as a pharmacist for a major retail chain I experienced first hand the frustrations of parents who couldn’t find pharmacists to give them the time necessary for their many questions. Pharmacists at these stores are just too overworked and overwhelmed. I knew I wanted to start my own business but I wanted it to be specialized. I didn’t want to be just another pharmacy. I wanted it to be a destination for parents. So in 2004 we opened Cherry’s Pharmacy.
2) How is Cherry’s different from other pharmacies?
Cherry’s focus is children. We are a full-service pharmacy, but 80 percent of our business is kids. Our specialty is our ability to custom flavor and compound. Compounding is the art of making medicines from scratch. For example, customers who have babies with reflux problems. Since the majority of medications on the market are developed for adults, we can create a solution that is both in form and doseage more palatable for babies. With our proximity to many hospitals, including Sloan Kettering, we also have customers who have specific health complications that can make swallowing medications difficult, or need dye-free or sugar-free offerings. We have solutions for that. Interestingly one of our fastest growing clientele are pets. We have a growing following of pet-owners who come to us to custom-flavor medicines for their dogs and cats. Beef, chicken, liver and sardine are the most popular.
3) What brings most parents into Cherry’s for the first time?
Most parents come to us because they are having difficulty getting their kids to take their medicine. On their initial visit, the big draw is our menu of custom medicine flavors – everything from bubble gum to watermelon. But after that first visit they get hooked. They really appreciate our focus on customer care and follow up. We really try to build a community here, and our customers have responded. We do very little advertising, so its all word of mouth. I’m very flattered that doctors and hospitals recommend us to their patients.
4) What do you think will be the most requested product at Cherry’s this summer?
Sunscreen. I’m proud to say that we have three of the top products identified in the recent Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen ranking – Badger, California Baby and Vani-Cream. I’ll be sending my sons off to camp with Badger this summer.
5) I’m always thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Most of my ideas never come to fruition. What advice would you give to moms and dads that need that extra push to follow through with their ideas?
You need to be passionate about what you do. Have goals and follow through on your passion. You cannot go into business just seeking money, or it will become a job you hate going to everyday.
6) Who has influenced you most and been your greatest inspiration?
My wife is my biggest supporter and cheerleader. She really believed in my idea and was the impetus behind me. And also my kids. I never would have understood my customers without being a parent.
7) What is in the future for you and Cherry’s Pharmacy?
I’ve been thinking about writing a book. A pocket guide for parents based on many of the anecdotes that I experience everyday. We are also in the midst of building a brand new website for Cherry’s that will be much more interactive and informative for parents. In the meantime, if any of your readers have any questions or comments they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
-That’s IT Mommy friend, Jill