Visiting Steveston Medicine Shoppe is like stepping back to a simpler time. Customers are greeted with a warm hello when they enter the store that specializes in compounding and dispensing medication in addition to a variety of other services.
Steven Chang is the charismatic pharmacist and owner of Steveston Medicine Shoppe located at the corner of Chatham Street and No. 1 Road. He says, “This intersection is the gateway to Steveston village.”
Steven feels rooted in this community where he has lived most of his life, and it was a natural fit to establish his business here.
His family moved from Taiwan to Richmond when Steven began high school. Although his father dreamt of having his son follow in his footsteps as a shoe manufacturer, he opted to study Pharmacy at UBC.
After graduating, Steven worked at an independent pharmacy in White Rock for five years, and then moved to a Richmond pharmacy for two more years.
In 2011 Steven established Steveston Medicine Shoppe. He says, “My inspiration to open my own business was to execute a vision of seeing pharmacists as a part of disease prevention, not just someone you see when you’re sick. Pharmacists are in a great position with our accessibility and training to provide information and services that help people prevent chronic diseases.”
He points out, “We work with local organizations to provide health education workshops. One step at a time, I believe one day pharmacists will create more beneficial impacts to our health system.”
Steven enjoys the freedom of running his Medicine Shoppe franchise. The pharmacy is conveniently located across the street from The Maple Residences. Residents can either cross the street to fill their own prescriptions or have Steven, pharmacy manager Angela Liou, or one of his staff make deliveries to their home. This service is available to anyone in the vicinity of the village who is unable to get out on their own.
Getting to know clients in the community is a special part of Steven’s job.
Steven and his team get to know customers on a first name basis. He says, “I get to spend time with the customers, and answer their questions.”
“We want to be known not just as faces behind the counter but as friends you trust, providing a high level of continuity between doctor visits, promoting a prevention-based system and encouraging healthy lifestyles,” Steven says.
Today, the vast majority of medications are mass-produced by pharmaceutical drug companies. Following the model of a traditional pharmacy, Steven and Angela are trained compounding pharmacists. They can compose alternate dosages, which may come in other forms such as creams, caplets and suspensions. They can also create specialized compounds for pediatric and veterinary patients. It is even possible to combine multiple medications into a single dose.
They are always on the look out for medication conflicts, which can present complex issues if a person is taking multiple medications. Each prescription’s purpose, side effects and interactions are explained to clients to empower them to participate in their health decisions.
“Knowledge is power. Our pharmacists do routine medication reviews to ensure the safety of our customers’ regimens.” Steven Chang
As people age, there is an increased focus on health. Each year a number of seniors are hospitalized due to improper prescription usage, nutritional depletion or simply lack of care.
Steveston Medicine Shoppe’s “Time My Meds” software service takes a weight off customers’ shoulders. You no longer need to worry about prescription refills; a phone call from the pharmacy will inform you when it is time to head over or they will make a delivery.
In addition, daily at home monitoring of blood pressure and blood sugar levels is offered along with reports to your doctor on a weekly basis or as needed. Compression socks can also be fitted in the comfort of your own home.
Vaccinations such as flu and shingles shots are available at Steveston Medicine Shoppe.
Monitoring and assisting clients with weight loss is another relatively new role for pharmacists. Clients come in each week to be weighed and to monitor their progress. Unlike weight loss centres, Steven is aware of his customers’ medical histories and can refer them to their doctor if needed. In addition, Jamie Chan, a food and nutrition specialist, runs information sessions several times a week. Nutritional supplements and dietary snacks are also sold.
It is apparent Steven is passionate about his profession. He concludes, “The most rewarding part of being a pharmacist/pharmacy owner is seeing people’s lives being changed. From a senior having multiple drug related issues fixed, to helping a mother understand how to pick the right food for herself and her family, nothing is more rewarding than seeing the positive impact we can have on people’s lives. Seeing our team members grow professionally and personally to inch closer to our vision is also what keeps us all going.”
Steveston Medicine Shoppe
11-3993 Chatham Street, Richmond BC V7E 2Z6