The independent touch

Ahmed Mamane

Photo by Ken Smith

Small, locally owned pharmacies, once a cornerstone of most American communities, have largely gone the way of dodo birds and video stores. A few venerable examples continue to soldier on in Chico, but the decidedly old-school business model isn’t exactly popular with new business owners. Ahmed Mamane is an exception. A pharmacist who’s spent more than half of his 12 years in the business at two Chico Walgreens locations, Mamane’s corporate experience convinced him that there’s still a need for the friendly neighborhood pharmacist. Mamane, a husband and father of two girls (ages 8 and 11), opened KindCare Pharmacy and Medical Supply (at 230 Walnut St., Ste. B) late last March. Customers looking for consultations, prescription refills, over-the-counter medicines, free flu shots and assorted sundries can find the pharmacist there from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call 592-3917 or search for KindCare Pharmacy and Medical Supply on Facebook.

How and why did you become a pharmacist?

I went to school back in Boston, Mass. I was heading to medical school, but a friend of mine talked me into becoming a pharmacist instead. I’m glad he did, because I love it.

What about the job do you find appealing?

Having a good relationship with the patients. You get to know them well, they get to know you, and it’s an important way to help them by providing the advice and consultation they need. Sometimes, people will tell you more than they might even tell their doctor.

What inspired you to start your own pharmacy?

Being independent is the biggest reason. You’re not tied up with big corporate policies about what to do and what not to do. [In a corporate setting], you have a store manager with no pharmacy experience telling you to jump in and take the next sale or hurry up and take the next patient. That strips away the bigger role a pharmacist should play in a person’s health care, which is to fill a link missing between the doctor and the patient. There is nothing between me and the patient here, so I can spend the time needed rather than just saying, “OK, who’s next?”

How’s it going?

It’s tough, especially these first few months. There’s a lot of thinking, “Did I make the right decision, or should I just go back to my paycheck every two weeks, suck it up and do what they tell me to do?” But I’m also hearing positive feedback from people who like the personal contact and service. They like to be treated like people. It takes a lot of hours because right now it’s just me, but I’m hoping to reach the point soon where I can hire another pharmacist or technician.