Liddells Pharmacy | Service sells with a personal touch

In a fiercely competitive and fast-changing market, an 80 year-old Pukekohe pharmacy is doubling down on what it does best – great service with a personal touch.

‘Big box’ and online players are putting the squeeze on traditional community pharmacies, but Liddells Pharmacy’s focus on service sets it apart from the competition, says owner Bahareh Javadian.

Liddells has 10 staff working across the pharmacy and shop. Its long history of good service means it has loyal customers, many of whom are elderly and need extra attention, Bahareh says.

“We spend time talking to our customers about what they need. We deliver medicines to customers’ homes and explain how they should be taking them.”

Liddells already provides services such as blood pressure monitoring, wound care, antibiotics for urinary tract infections, specialty men’s and women’s sexual health advice, insomnia treatment, and weight management.  In July, it introduced text reminders to customers needing to collect their repeat prescriptions.

The pharmacy will continue to sharpen up its service offering to ensure it remains ahead of the pack, she says.

Next year it will open a dedicated consultation room where customers can receive advice and treatment – including new services such as vaccinations – in private and without an appointment. 

“We want to provide better services and be more in touch with our customers. I don’t want to attract millions of customers by doing free prescriptions, I just want to really look after the ones we have.”  

The pharmacy will also build on the great relationships previous owners Jillian and Greg Stevens developed with customers and local medical professionals, Bahareh says. Liddells is part of the Imoko programme, which provides free prescriptions and medicines to school children who otherwise might not get them.

Bahareh graduated from pharmacy school in Iran and owned two pharmacies there. She moved to New Zealand in 2011 after completing her Masters in Business Administration and Product Management in Sweden.

After eight years working for Unichem Royal Oak, including a five-year stint as retail manager of Medicines to Midnight in Newmarket, she bought Liddells in July this year.

“I decided I really wanted to own a pharmacy that I could grow and improve myself.” 

Moore Markhams Auckland was instrumental in making that dream a reality, she says. Director Jonathan Roberts suggested Liddells as a candidate and director Atul Mehta and manager Anson Lam negotiated with banks and the previous owners to ensure the sale went through.  “They also made sure I had the right legal advice throughout the process, they really helped me so much.”

Since taking the helm at Liddells, Bahareh has worked closely with Anson.

“Atul and Anson have been my mentors, but it’s also become like a friendship with Anson. I contact her regularly for advice and she can tell me how various decisions will affect my business. She really makes herself available to help me with whatever I need. Her financial forecast has been like a Bible for me, it’s helped me with so many decisions.”

Bahareh and her husband, who welcomed their first child this year, moved to Pukekohe to join the community the pharmacy serves. “I really wanted to make a connection with the people who are my customers. The people here are so friendly and it’s a very family-oriented place.”

Helping customers with their health issues is very rewarding, she says. “Having a customer come in and tell you that your advice has been amazing or that a certain medicine I have recommended has worked, is really fulfilling.

“To be growing a business, providing a better service and introducing new services to help the community is a really satisfying feeling for me.”
 
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Photo caption: Liddell Pharmacy's new owner Bahareh Javadian (fourth from left) with former owner Bob Liddell (fifth from left).