A hybrid franchising model has helped Care Pharmacies ramp up its store count and revenue.

Care Pharmacies, Michael Wysong, franchising model, regional independent chain, specialty pharmacy, CAREnet, retail pharmacy

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Retail News Breaks

Care Pharmacies extends its reach

April 19th, 2013

LINTHICUM, Md. – A hybrid franchising model has helped Care Pharmacies ramp up its store count and revenue.

After expanding its store base by more than 50% in 2011, Care added another 15 locations in 2012, as sales jumped $36 million to $37 million. It now has 79 stores overall.

In recent years Care extended its footprint to encompass eight states — including New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont — as well as Washington, D.C.

In 2013, "there are several new locations slated to come on in new states," said chief executive officer Michael Wysong. "As a result of the growth, Care recently relocated its corporate headquarters from Alexandria, Va., to Baltimore. The move gives us better access to our customers and better efficiencies for our members."

Care combines the quality of a trusted local pharmacy with the buying power, growth and stability of a national organization, he noted.

"The secret to our success lies in our regional independent chain operating model," Wysong said. "This structure allows our members to take full advantage of the logistical and operational efficiencies of the chain while maintaining their uniqueness as an independent pharmacy. Care provides its members with the tools that they need to compete with the big-box chains while simplifying operations so that the stores can focus on driving better outcomes for their ­patients."

Care offers such services as private patient counseling, specialty prescriptions, compounding, caregiver support counseling, prescription dilemma resolution, and specialized billing, along with an array of home health care products and services.

The success of this approach has helped to spur growth, with Care being named a "Hot 100 Retailer" by the National Retail Federation.

According to Wysong, the "expansive growth" is a by-product of working hard at serving customers.

"By staying focused on creating better value for our members, we were able to improve our strategic partnerships, which resulted in better logistical and economical arrangements," he explained. "Our expertise in specialty pharmacy also made us an attractive partner for retail pharmacies that had already ventured into specialty pharmacy or were looking to enter into that space.”

Through CAREnet, the  company's chain host system, pharmacists and their staff can access features and options geared toward a combination of greater productivity and patient safety. They also get a professional website, online prescription refill capability for patients, data sharing programs, and a standard pharmacy system platform and profiles.

Care is reinforcing its efforts by making capital investments in its infrastructure, information technology and other platforms in 2013, Wysong added.

"With a focus on community-based pharmacy, it is important that our infrastructure can support our rapid growth and the growing demand from our customers," he said. "Our marketing and branding initiatives will also take center stage in 2013."

With new and often confusing health care regulations roiling the market, the company is also working with partners to sort out the rules and explain them to interested parties.

"Care will continue to be focused on proactively working with the payer community," Wysong said. "This will ensure that retail pharmacy locations continue to be a viable option for patients seeking a higher level of counseling and customer service."

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