AAP Members Celebrate Their Independent Pharmacy Stories


Four independent pharmacists shared their journeys to become pharmacy owners.

For American Associated Pharmacies (AAP) this year is all about celebrating the stories of the organization’s members. Ahead of the 2023 Annual Conference, 4 members shared—and celebrated—their independent pharmacy stories.

Click here to watch the interviews.

Howard’s Pharmacy in Simpsonville, South Carolina

Howard’s Pharmacy has been a fixture in the Simpsonville, South Carolina community for 85 years. Scott Causey, RPh, has owned the store—started by his wife’s great uncle—since 2014. Causey takes pride in the relationship that his pharmacy staff have with customers. “We know [our patients] beyond their prescriptions. We can name them as soon as they come in the door,” Causey said. “And they know our staff.”

Benton Pharmacy in Fort Benton, Montana

Chris Halko, RPh, purchased Benton Pharmacy in 2005. “When I was in college, I never really thought about independent pharmacy as a career path. I love taking care of people, and in a small town, pharmacists really are the first line of defense. We do hospice care, we do long-term care, we take care of the hospital…we take care of everything out here.”

Prairie Hills Pharmacy in Belle Fourche, South Dakota

“Our story is kind of unique,” said Cheryl Westland, PharmD. Westland always had a dream of owning her own pharmacy, while her mother, Cindy Cowen, always had a dream of owning her own business—“preferably a unique gift shop,” Westland explained.

Westland credits her hometown pharmacist in Chinook, Montana with giving her the encouragement she needed to open Prairie Hills Pharmacy. “He said, ‘Cheryl, you’ve gotta do this. There’s such a need for independent pharmacists, you just have to do this.’” With Cowen on board to handle the business side of things, the mother-daughter duo purchased the building in May 2019 and opened their doors on September 23, 2019.

Marco Drugs and Compounding in South Miami, Florida

“I’m an independent pharmacist to help people,” said Sonia Martinez, RPh. Martinez is a compounding pharmacist and co-owner of Marco Drugs and Compounding in South Miami, Florida. She credits AAP as the reason why her independent pharmacy is in business. “The support, the knowledge, the brainpower, and the purchase power” that AAP provides to help member pharmacies make their businesses more profitable is invaluable, according to Martinez.

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