Since buying Sumpter Pharmacy of Adel, Leslie Herron has been asked one question - are you changing the name of the business?
The answer is no.
“A name change would imply that there were things wrong that we needed to fix,” Herron said. “And that’s not the case.”
Herron took over the pharmacy in July. Toni Sumpter and her husband Dan previously owned the business for 15 years.
“I did not buy at ‘fixer-upper,’” Herron said. “I bought a good business, with a good name and a good reputation and a good customer service level. And I want to capitalize on that, not move away from it.”
Even though Herron did not work at Sumpter Pharmacy prior to buying it, she is no stranger to the pharmacy world.
“I’ve been in the pharmacy industry my whole life, like since birth,” Herron said. “I have a multi-generational legacy in my family full of pharmacists. It must be in the DNA, I don’t know.”
Herron has managed and owned multiple pharmacies before.
“I have been through transitions before, or managed transitions before, and this one is the smoothest ever,” Herron said. “Most of the time, there’s a whole lot more anxiety about change, both in the customer base and the staff - and that’s probably the biggest thing you have to manage. And in this case, none of that happened.”
And according to Herron, the staff and customers are to thank for the smooth transitions between owners.
“The only question I get is ‘are you changing the name?’ The customers have been great - they’re curious,” Herron said “And the staff has been 200 percent supportive. The most valuable thing I bought here was the staff … they really, really care about the community and our patients.”
While Herron is not planning on changing the name of the store, she does welcome change and has set goals for the pharmacy and the community.
Her first goal is to up the number of flu shots given to people in the community.
“I am a very strong proponent of immunizations,” Herron said. “So, having flu shot season coming - well it’s actually upon us - I believe in making it convenient for anybody to get a vaccine because if it’s convenient people are way more likely to do it. I feel like I can make a big impact in the community that way.”
Herron would also like to set up a system with businesses in town so employees can get flu shots because the number of days employees miss work because of the flu “is staggering,” according to Herron.
“In a contained community like Adel, you can tell the impact you’re having by the number of flu cases you have walking in your door,” Herron said. “The more shots you give, the fewer flu cases you see.”
Another goal Herron has for Adel is to get narcan access for first responders for opioid overdoses.
While in Washington, Herron started a program where the pharmacy put narcans into the hands of first responders. In the first six months, the program saved three lives.
“(Opioids are) a problem everywhere. There is nowhere it is not a problem,” Herron said. “It’s all walks of life. There’s more accidental deaths because of opioid overdose than car accidents. And it’s been that way for years - I think probably at least eight years. It’s kind of staggering if you think about it like that. But, we can help.”
Finally, Herron is looking to expand pet medicine in the pharmacy.
“We will expand our access to a broader line of medicines for both small and large animal breeds,” Herron said. “Veterinarians and their patients will be able to get much of what they need locally, more conveniently, with prices more competitive than the online drugstores. This service will be enhanced by the addition of the ability to flavor medicine which is coming soon.”
If any customers have any other suggestions for Herron, she would like to hear them.
“I’d love people to come in with suggestions of what they would like to see us offer,” she said. “If we could bring in new product lines or services. Kind of like an open suggestion box.”
Herron went to pharmacy school at the University of Pittsburgh. After living in southern California and northwest Washington, Herron and her husband, Mike, moved to Adel.
“I’m really excited to be caring for people in the same community that I live in and that my family lives in and my grandchildren will grow up in,” Herron said. “I hope to be able to do everything I can to support local programs, local schools. I’m really big into keeping it local. I’d welcome people to come in and say hi, introduce themselves.”
For more information about Sumpter Pharmacy, visit their Facebook page or website.