A new type of health clinic is opening in Asheville. The idea is to bring down costs while providing service that cuts down on having to visit a hospital emergency room or busy doctor’s office. Sona Pharmacy + Clinic, which is a locally owned business, combines the clinic with a pharmacy. Here’s the press release.
When pharmacists Todd Tamplin and Dean Clayton purchased a community pharmacy on Tunnel Road in 2005, they had no idea that 10 years later, they’d be creating a whole new approach to community pharmacy. The new building, located at 805 Fairview Road, has high ceilings, large windows, and most notably, a pharmacist right out front.
“We had historically been focused on long-term care pharmacy, so community pharmacy was a new world for us,” said Todd. “But our original building we bought was so small, the pharmacist was right out front to greet patients as they came in. They really liked that personal touch, especially compared to the big pharmacies where you have to go all of the way to the back to try to find the pharmacist.”
So, when patients asked for more services, like a clinic, urgent care services, and a drive-thru, Todd and Dean were excited to try.
They hired architects, drafted plans, and teamed up with Vickery Family Medicine in East Asheville to run the clinic. But Blue Ridge Pharmacy, their former name, wasn’t going to fit the new pharmacy.
So, the team went through an extensive naming process. They worked for weeks defining their mission, their values, and the feeling they wanted their patients to have. Eventually, they picked the name Sona.
“We wanted something fresh, that was more modern and evocative of listening, to reflect our approach and new location,” said Brad Melson, the general manager at the new location.
What makes this pharmacy special is its one-stop, team-based approach to health care, where patients can see a primary care physician, get an x-ray, purchase vitamins and OTC medications, get a vaccine, or ask questions about their prescriptions. The pharmacist welcomes customers and is available to guide patients through any medication questions and make OTC recommendations – no appointment necessary.
Most importantly, it’s locally owned and operated, so the team’s values reflect the values of the community. And, it’s independent, which allows Sona the freedom to take care of patients and charge affordable prices instead of having guidelines and prices determined by corporate outsiders.
Sona Pharmacy + Clinic is a community pharmacy and primary care clinic with urgent care services in Asheville, North Carolina. They deliver medications and OTC products for free within a 45- minute drive from Asheville.
Terrific folks at the old BR Pharmacy and this new concept is a great idea. Teamed with Vickery it will be a great asset to East AVL. I’d say “good luck” but they have proven their success on skill, compassion and now, innovation.