Two years ago Christine Cheng, Frederick Cheng, Josephine Leonard, and Martin Leonard purchased Pharmasave Steveston Village. They were not strangers to business ownership as they also operate Cloverdale Pharmasave.
Their parents, Dr. Henry Cheng and Anna Cheng, opened the Cloverdale pharmacy 35 years ago. Christine, Frederick, and Josephine helped out after school and during holidays.
The couple retired in 2014 and passed the torch to their children. Frederick says, “We continue to offer the same dedication and passion that our parents showed.”
Frederick joined Cloverdale Pharmasave as a full-time pharmacist in 2008; his sister Christine is also a pharmacist and came on board in 2011.
Frederick admits it was not his childhood dream to become a pharmacist. He is a talented pianist and contemplated teaching; he laughs when he says, “My piano teacher said it was not a good career choice for raising a family.”
Instead, he headed off to SFU where he earned a degree in kinesiology. Soon after he attended UBC and earned his pharmacy degree. While completing his education, Frederick worked part-time alongside his father in the store’s veterinary and natural health department.
Christine works out of Cloverdale Pharmasave. Like her father, Christine’s passion is integrating orthodox and Western medicine with alternative and holistic therapies.
Josephine joined the management team in 2001; she holds the position of marketing manager for Steveston and Cloverdale and her husband Martin is general manager for both locations.
In 2016 an opportunity arose to purchase Pharmasave Steveston Village.
Frederick says with a smile, “Steveston is very similar to Cloverdale. They are both small towns, and like the television show “Cheers,” everyone knows you and knows your name.”
“Steveston is like a bubble. The sea air seems to make people more friendly.” Frederick Cheng
He has gotten to know many of the local business owners and appreciates the connections. “It’s nice to see people do well and it’s sad to see people go,” he says.
Frederick is a compounding pharmacist; he specializes in preparing customized medications that are not available commercially or over the counter. These prescription medications for both human and veterinary clients can be made in different forms including liquids, powders, tablets, creams, ointments and even gummy bears and lollipops.
Patient care is Frederick’s passion. He mentions that people should be careful not to believe everything they read online and to avoid self-diagnosis. He says, “As pharmacists, we focus on overall health. We know when people should see a doctor.”
“I want our customers to feel like family.” Frederick Cheng
He knows many clients on a first name basis. At the Steveston pharmacy, there is a personal investment and friendships develop. He jokes and says, “Some customers know my kids through photos better than my own family!” People will drop in to say hello even if they aren’t picking up a prescription. He points out Pharmasave Steveston Village is a pet-friendly pharmacy; they are allowed inside, after all, they are clients too.
Frederick says, “We learn a lot from our clients.” If a customer requests a product the pharmacy’s staff is happy to look into ordering it.
The Pharmasave owners value community involvement. Frederick, Martin and Clover-dale’s integrative health pharmacist Lyle Sunada recently shaved their heads as a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society.
Both Pharmasave locations regularly fundraise for Ending Violence Association of BC, Canadian Cancer Foundation, Canadian Cancer Society, Terry Fox Foundation, Variety Club, Canucks For Kids Fund, and Canucks Autism Network.
Locally, Frederick attends health fairs and plays an active role at The Maple Residences where Pharmasave has offered shingles vaccine clinics. He reports that he was scheduled as a guest speaker at The Maples but had some free time before his presentation so he sat down at their piano and played. Some residents were a little mystified when he reappeared as Frederick the pharmacist!
We have reached that time of the year that people dread – flu season. The key months to get the flu shot are from October through to January. Be sure to drop in and say hello to Frederick and the rest of the Pharmasave Steveston Village who are ready to assist you with their warm, personal service.
Pharmasave Steveston Village
105-12420 No. 1 Road
Richmond, BC V7E 6N2