Company: Staten Island Pharmacy, Staten Island, N.Y.
Why now: Finally found an ideal location
I had been considering opening my own pharmacy since I graduated school. I've always looked up to entrepreneurs and I wanted to work for myself. I initially worked for a chain, and then for an independent pharmacy. I wanted to be able to set the work flow and policies, and make our customers feel like they're family.
I'd been driving around New York City looking for the best possible location for years. When this one opened up this winter, I almost missed it, just because it was so close to home. The space was in a busy shopping district, surrounded by lots of homes, and in a neighborhood where people are proud to shop at independent businesses.
I used my savings and a loan from my primary wholesaler to get started. It was a tremendous amount of work to just set up the store, which opened in February. In addition to the pharmacy, we also sell over-the-counter medications, home health care aids, surgical supplies, hair and skin care.
The most stressful part is when no one is walking through the door. Business has been steadily increasing, but we have a lot of room to grow. The best moments are when I get to go above and beyond to help a patient -- then I'm sure this was the right decision.