The owner and pharmacist of the new Unity Pharmacy is banking on personal service and individual care to lure customers from the large chain pharmacies that dominate the field -- and to keep them coming back.
Naga Malpuri chose to open her independent pharmacy in a small downtown storefront at 1326 Post Road because she saw the area is lively and busy, she said, and the only other independent pharmacy in town is Lupe's "which is on the other side of town" on Black Rock Turnpike.
"I like people. I want to have a connection with my customers," said Malpuri, who opened Unity Pharmacy on April 1. "I believe that everyone deserves to have at least 10 minutes of a pharmacist's time."
Malpuri calls her pharmacy "a community pharmacy" and said she expects to give customers all kinds of help with medications. That may include information on the proper time to take medications, on how medications interact with each other, and how to store medications properly. She expects to answer questions from mothers who left their children's antibiotics out of the refrigerator overnight by mistake, or from an elderly person uncertain about the right time to take a particular prescription.
"You don't need to walk in with a prescription to talk to me," she said.
Several services offered by Unity Pharmacy cater to older adults, such as free delivery of medication to Fairfield, Westport, Bridgeport, Trumbull, Stratford -- anywhere within a 10- to 15-mile radius. The pharmacy also offers blister and bubble packaging which combines all the medication a person takes at one time into individual packets or "blisters," to make medication distribution easier and safer.
Free blood sugar and blood pressure tests are also always available at the pharmacy, Malpuri added. Although the elderly in particular would benefit from those services, they are available to anyone, she said.
Most insurance plans are also accepted at Unity Pharmacy, she said.
Unity Pharmacy and its pharmacist are fully licensed, according to Malpuri, who worked for five years in a chain pharmacy before moving to an independent pharmacy, which she liked much better. Last September she began the licensing process to open her own pharmacy in the storefront formerly occupied by fashion designer Jennifer Butler, who moved her business to the Fairfield Sportsplex. It took six months, Malpuri said, to complete the stringent licensing and zoning requirements for the pharmacy set by both the town and the state.
Malpuri knows that operating a small pharmacy is harder than working at a chain store, but looks forward to the closer connections she expects to make with her customers.
"I'm offering small, community, personalized service," she said.
Unity Pharmacy, 1326 Post Road, is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed Sunday. For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-955-1781.