FAIRFIELD, Ohio -- Jungle Jim's International Market has added an eclectic and unusual pharmacy to its collection of eclectic and unusual departments.
Independently owned F&F Pharmacies recently began operating Jungle Jim's Olde Fashioned Pharmacy in a 2,000-square-foot leased space. In the two and a half months it has been open, business has picked up quickly, noted co-owner Kip Ferguson. It usually takes between six months and a year for a pharmacy like this to get up to full speed, and Ferguson said the Jungle Jim's unit will be at the faster end of the range.
Consistent with the diverse environment of Jungle Jim's, F&F offers the old-fashioned and hard-to-find service of compounding -- making prescription medicines from scratch. At the same time, the pharmacy has the latest in automated dispensing technology. It also offers customers the opportunity to relax and refresh with another unique offering, an Oxygen Bar.
Jim Bonaminio, owner of Jungle Jim's, said he added the pharmacy to better serve his customers. He initially began talks with CVS Corp., Woonsocket, R.I., about adding a CVS pharmacy to his store, but a note in the Jungle Jim's suggestion box from F&F changed his mind.
F&F expressed interest in leasing space in Jungle Jim's, and Bonaminio felt that a smaller, community pharmacy would be a better fit. F&F, owned by Jerry Fitzgerald and brothers Ron and Kip Ferguson, also operates three freestanding pharmacies east of Cincinnati and another in a Jubilee Foods store in Bethel, Ohio.
"They have old-fashioned service where they wait on you and care about you, and will do home deliveries," Bonaminio said. "You're not just a number."
Personal care is tough, however, in a 285,000-square-foot store with estimated traffic of more than 30,000 shoppers a week.
"As an independent pharmacy, our key component is to base the business on care and develop a one-on-one relationship with our customers," Kip Ferguson said. "We want to provide a better quality of service for each individual patient, rather than just another prescription that's being filled."
Because of the volume of people shopping at Jungle Jim's, and the anticipation that the pharmacy may attract many customers, it has enlisted the help of a robotic dispensing device called SP200, made by the pharmacy automation company ScriptPro, Mission, Kan.
The SP200 is designed to lessen the time-consuming tasks of pharmacists so they can spend more time with patients. In the case of Jungle Jim's pharmacy, this also allows pharmacists time to work on the compounding service. Once a prescription is entered into the computer system, the robotic arm of the SP20 can choose the right size bottle, fill it with the correct drug and label the bottle properly.
The pharmacy's extensive compounding abilities are unusual in today's modern drug marketplace. In its sterile compounding room, the pharmacists develop individualized prescriptions out of bulk materials, and this is quickly gaining the attention of local doctors and veterinarians.
About 25% to 30% of the pharmacy's current script business uses the compounding service, mostly for animals. Because of the lack of medications in appropriate doses for various sized animals, compounding is more important for pets. "Jungle [Jim Bonaminio] likes that," Ferguson said.
The Oxygen Bar, with its large sign, is both an attraction and a service. "We've gained a lot of business from people coming over to ask about the Oxygen Bar, and then we talk to them about the pharmacy," Ferguson said.
The non-medicinal oxygen is dispensed in 16 flavors for $1 a minute, with a buy-five-minutes, get-five-minutes free offer, he said. Five to 10 minutes is recommended. "It will relieve head-aches. You get a clearheaded focus, a calming effect from the oxygen. It refreshes you, regenerates you," he said.
Bonaminio is in the early stages of developing a second Jungle Jim's in Oakley, Ohio. He said if the customers react well to this pharmacy, he will consider adding one to the new location.