Heartland marks 20 years in business

It’s amazing to think that such a large (and growing) business, with a family-focused atmosphere, has stayed in business for 20 years. I met with Heartland Pharmacy’s original founder, Corey Smith, and asked him, “How did it all start?”

He answered, “In 2000, Brett Wright and I started a conversation about providing pharmacy services to a portfolio of long-term care communities owned by members of the Roger and Allen Ball families. The Balls had some experience with a Florida-LTC pharmacy and were open to establishing an “in-house” pharmacy for their communities. 

We agreed we wanted our new entity to exceed the services available through a traditional retail pharmacy and become highly advanced in our understanding of and care for seniors. Management of medication with senior living centers was manual and open to many errors. We wanted to create an entity based on supreme customer service and personalized attention.”

The goal of personal attention and supreme customer service still exists today. It started from the ground up, with hard work and dedication. Corey continued on, telling us how it came to fruition approximately a year later.

“In 2001, we formed a new entity named PharmEase. PE was operated out of the same building it is in today strategically located next to Eastgate Drug where many of our employees worked. We had one full-time employee and several part timers who would service our customers after putting in a full day somewhere else. Growth came and more full time employees were added.”

In 2002 we acquired Floto Pharmacy of Boise. We kept their employees but changed the name to PharmEase. Several years later we sold the Boise retail pharmacy business to Shopco and once again focused 100% of our attention on professional services for seniors within LTC communities. 

Our entry into this field preceded widespread use of EMAR, med-carts provided by the pharmacy and many other aspects of the business we take for granted today. We have participated in an incredible evolution of the LTC pharmacies in the western USA. 

I worked for a time as CEO and shortly thereafter began hiring staff. Reece Christensen soon became our CEO. Reece has seen the company grow from a few hundred customers to over 9,000 customers in 16 states. He is capable, loyal and nimble. He is the heart and soul of PharmEase!”

Today, Reece’s leadership style extends to his employees who are also capable, loyal and nimble. The culture at Heartland Pharmacy is engrained in it’s work ethic, customer service and overall constructive engagement with communities, vendors and partners alike. Their success is mirrored in their genuine care of their employees, individuals, families and communities they serve. So perhaps it’s not so amazing after all, to know that Heartland Pharmacy has been around for 20 years, and will be there to serve the long-term care community for years to come.

-Andrea Leary, FUEL Marketing, Guest Contributor

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