Cherry's pharmacy

Datascan Featured Pharmacy: Cherry's Pharmacy

Cherry’s Pharmacy, located on the Upper Eastside of Manhattan, is a specialized pharmacy catering to the needs of children and families. Underneath the bright red awning is a small storefront packed full of carefully selected items for your medicine cabinet, and a dedicated staff that are willing to answer your every sleep-deprived question concerning your family’s health. Charles Tabouchirani, pharmacist and father of two, is the sole proprietor.

The first time I visited Cherry’s Pharmacy, I was blown away at how strategically stocked the pharmacy is. If you’ve ever been to a retail store in Manhattan, you know that space is limited, but in Cherry’s Pharmacy, despite the small blueprint, there is a huge energy among not only the staff but the customers, too!

Datascan: When and how did the concept of specialized kids pharmacy begin?

Charles: After working as a pharmacist for a major retail chain, I experienced firsthand the frustrations of parents who couldn’t find pharmacists to give them the time necessary for their many questions. Pharmacists at these stores are just too overworked and overwhelmed. I knew I wanted to start my own business but I wanted it to be specialized. I didn’t want to be just another pharmacy. I wanted it to be a destination for parents. So in 2004 we opened Cherry’s Pharmacy.

Datascan: How is Cherry’s different from other pharmacies?

Charles: Cherry’s focus is children. We are a full-service pharmacy, but 80% of our business is kids. Our specialty is our ability to custom flavor and compound. Compounding is the art of making medicines from scratch. For example, customers who have babies with reflux problems. Since the majority of medications on the market are developed for adults, we can create a solution that is both in form and dosage more palatable for babies. With our proximity to many hospitals, including Sloan Kettering, we also have customers who have specific health complications that can make swallowing medications difficult, or need dye-free or sugar-free offerings. We have solutions for that. Interestingly, one of our fastest growing clientele are pets. We have a growing following of pet owners who come to us to custom-flavor medicines for their dogs and cats. Beef, chicken, liver and sardine are the most popular.

Datascan: What brings most parents into Cherry’s for the first time?

Charles: Most parents come to us because they are having difficulty getting their kids to take their medicine. On their initial visit, the big draw is our menu of custom medicine flavors – everything from bubble gum to watermelon. But after that first visit they get hooked. They really appreciate our focus on customer care and follow up. We really try to build a community here, and our customers have responded. We do very little advertising, so it’s all word-of-mouth. I’m very flattered that doctors and hospitals recommend us to their patients.

Datascan: What are some of the ways you’re using Datascan’s software to help in your pharmacy?

Charles: Having switched to Datascan in a pandemic year, the software made it much easier for us to coordinate prompt delivery and shipping of maintenance fills, especially of pediatric compounds. Many of our families with young children, either temporarily or permanently moved out of Manhattan during COVID, and being able to forecast and anticipate their prescription needs by clicking on "View Daily Rx Log" has helped tremendously. I also find the Patient Notes and E-Rx annotations extremely valuable in the context of filling compounded prescriptions that do not always come through clearly via e-prescribing. Adding and creating compounds [in Datascan’s software] is a breeze!

Datascan: In what ways does Datascan outshine your old vendor?  What was the conversion process like?

Charles: The Datascan tech support excels in its responsiveness and accessibility versus my previous vendor. Converting to any new vendor should never be a rushed process. Datascan explained the process from start to finish and gave me ample time to analyze the data until I was satisfied with the outcome. The day of conversion was painless. The in-store support we got from Datascan was amazing, and yes, we needed hand-holding for good reasons!  There were expected glitches but solutions followed with every glitch, remembering that no software is perfect but should be adaptable.

Datascan: What is your outlook on the future of Independent Pharmacy?

Charles: From an independent pharmacy owner's perspective, I believe that although the outlook of independent pharmacy remains challenging, my advice is to find one niche that you are passionate about and try your best to implement it within the context of your practice. And remember, do not try to compete with the chains – you're more creative than that. Just keep in mind that you cannot be everything to everyone!

Charles encourages his staff and patients to be passionate about everything they do. By setting goals and following through on your passion, your business becomes about more than just seeking money and doing your “job.” He credits his wife for much of his success, who is his biggest cheerleader, as he says. Charles also explains that by being a dad he’s able to understand his customers' needs. His kids have helped him relate to the needs of his patients and helped Cherry’s garner much success over the past 16 years.