In a David versus Goliath story, the new Chapel Street Pharmacy, which opened on Nov. 2, is attempting to carve out a place against larger chain pharmacies in the area.
Chapel Street is home to The Hospital of St. Raphael, now part of Yale-New Haven Hospital, and several pharmacies, including a Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid. Despite the competition, pharmacy manager at Chapel Street Pharmacy Muralikrishna Challagundla said the small business model will be able to appeal to the local community in a way that larger chains cannot.
“Everyone has their own way of doing things,” Challagundla said. “There is competition but we can get business.”
Their tactic to deal with this competition, he said, is to foster a good relationship with the local community by providing a more personal service to its customers.
One example of personalized attention is bilingual service, said Brenda Pizarro, who works at the pharmacy. The pharmacy hired bilingual workers, as opposed to an intermediary or a translator, because it will make Spanish speakers more comfortable, Pizarro said. Some of the older people in the community speak no English, Pizarro said, which means they require even labels to be in Spanish.
Working for the community involves reaching out to local professionals in the area, Challagundla said. The presence of numerous medical institutions on Chapel Street and in the nearby area is one of the locations’ benefits, he added. The pharmacy is attempting to form a positive relationship with the doctors and nurses at Yale-New Haven Hospital, he said.
Despite its primarily local focus, the business does not intend to restrict itself to the immediately surrounding area, Challagundla said, adding that the pharmacy is currently delivering prescriptions to Fair Haven, East Haven, and Hamden.
After its first few weeks, Challagundla said he is neither excited nor dismayed by the pharmacy’s success.
“I don’t say that we are doing good, but I don’t say we are doing bad either,” he added.
Challagundla attributes this performance to the current lack of awareness regarding the pharmacy. Although it held a grand opening, many people have yet to learn about the pharmacy in the first few weeks, Challagundla said. Yet, he added that in a couple of months, he believes business will pick up.
Out of 40 Yale students questioned, none knew about the pharmacy. However, several students expressed interest after learning about the business, saying that they would appreciate another local business.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for members of the community to be able to help each other with new jobs and opportunities,” Cesar Garcia ’17 said.
Since the pharmacy is not attempting to reach a particularly targeted demographic and may overlap with the demographic many of the chain pharmacies currently have, working and developing personal relationships with its customers will be a focus, Challagundla said.
The Pharmacy Managers of both Rite Aid and Walgreens said that they were legally unable to comment, redirecting the questions to those at their corporate offices.
Chapel Street Pharmacy is open on Mondays through Saturdays and operates from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays.