Steve Maki, owner and pharmacist at Spruce Mountain Pharmacy in Jay is committed to customer satisfaction.

“I want to keep the focus on the customer side of the business,” he said.

For the past six years, Spruce Mountain Pharmacy has operated in the rarefied air of the independent pharmacy, something that was in danger of becoming extinct. Big chain drug stores have made it difficult, but not impossible for the independent store owner to survive. Spruce Mountain Pharmacy is proof of the success that an independent store can have, as long as the customers remain happy with the service and products offered there. Maki has worked to make his pharmacy a thriving part of the communities that he serves.

“The best advertisement for any business is satisfied customers and that doesn’t just happen, you have to work for it,” he said.

To that end, his store is stocked with items requested by customers or those that are pharmacy recommended. Customers like to see their favorite items on the shelves and can often find products that are not carried in the big stores. He also reached out to doctors in the area and asked what they thought would be the most important items to carry.

“The big chains plan their stock on what sells best, which means they might carry something for a while, but if it isn’t a big seller, they stop stocking it,” he added. “They can do that because of the volume of business they do, their bottom line is to make big profits.”

Business is good, he says, good enough to hire part time pharmacist Gena Bosshart to help ease the workload. The pharmacy is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Right now, they are closed on weekends.

“My staff has family and so do I. It is important to me to make sure that we all have quality time with our families,” he said.

Spruce Mountain Pharmacy also provides a drive up window for the convenience of the customer. One can pull up to the window, drop off their prescription and return to the window to pick it up, without leaving the comfort of their vehicle, especially in bad weather.

Maki also tries to work with patients when they bring in their prescriptions. If generic drugs are available he will often suggest them to the customer and will call the doctor’s office to make changes if both the physician and the customer are willing.

“There has been a big change in the generic drug market. Some big name companies are buying up the generic drug companies. That makes the price of the generics go up because there is lack of competition,” he said.

He believes that his job is to get the prescription drugs to the customer in the most efficient, least costly method.

“I am more than willing to call the doctor’s office and see if there are lower cost alternatives or I can go online and see if the drug they need is available at another store,” he said.

His store is also a training pharmacy for pharmacy students from the University of New England and Husson College. Pharmacy students serve an kind of internship at Spruce Mountain Pharmacy to develop a understanding of the basic tenets of community practice setting.

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