Executive Files with Alpesh Patel

May 6, 2016

http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/video/5hZmljMzE6dStc89vBlNMHmCocpwBEBI

Alpesh Patel

Why Alpesh is a big deal: As president of Benzer Pharmacy, Alpesh Patel oversees the fast-growing business, a chain of independent retail pharmacies specializing in compounding and specialty medication. The company’s goal is “helping people on their path to a better life,” and Patel sees that as key to growth. There are more than 50 stores now in Florida and six other states, and the company projects adding at least two a month this year. Patel, who has a strong background in the pharmacy field from his native land of India, is a registered pharmacist in Michigan. He now combines his scientific and medical knowledge with business acumen, as Benzer buys other pharmacies, in many cases from retiring baby boomers.

How do your acquisition deals work? Once we see this is a nice store and doing well in the community, we approach the store and give an incentive to the owner, who can stay on board with Benzer Pharmacy as a part-time pharmacist so they can still talk to their customers and we’ll keep that relationship with that customer. Most independent pharmacy owners who sell stores say they want to keep that community feeling. They don’t want their employees or customers to go to the chain pharmacies. Plus, we usually pay them more than what chain drugs buy them for.

How did you make the shift from pharmacist to operations? I learned a lot from my partner, who is my former boss. He brings a lot on the business side, he trained me well in the last five or six years. I learned as a I grew, so now I can say I’m more active on the business side.

What do you look for in your field visits to Benzer Pharmacy stores? Customer service and teamwork. Pharmacy technicians and pharmacists know their jobs. We don’t need to teach them. What we train them on is customer service and how to be a team player.

How do you foster teamwork? We have lots of activities. We have a group chat that’s a common platform for everyone to see. Whenever we get good reviews, or bad reviews, on Facebook, or Yellow Pages, we share that, so everyone knows what other pharmacies are doing to get these reviews or to make sure they are on top of service. If you get a good review, the company buys lunch. We keep them motivated, so they can stay on top of service.

 

  • Title and company: President, Benzer Pharmacy
  • Grew up: Gujarat, on the west coast of India
  • Came to United States: Dec. 2005
  • Family: Wife and three daughters — 8-year-old twins and a 10-year-old
  • What do you do on weekends? Saturdays, I play cricket in the Tampa Cricket League, with 32 teams. Sunday, I’m with family.
  • Are you a fan of Indian food? Home-cooked food, not from restaurants.
  • What’s your favorite dish? Potato curry
  • Bollywood or Hollywood? Bollywood. I only watch comedies. I recently watched “Chhello Divas.”
  • Do you get back to India often? My dad and my family are still in India, so pretty much every Christmas I’m in India.
  • Do you have a dream travel destination? I haven’t decided but Fiji sounds good.
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