By Don Bolding
Killeen Daily Herald
Veteran pharmacy professional Ron Breakenridge and his co-owners of the new Clear Creek Pharmacy are in the blood-sweat-and-tears stage of a business just being born, but they have high hopes for the only civilian outpatient pharmacy between Fort Hood Street and Copperas Cove.
The store is nested amid physicians' offices in Clear Creek Medical Park at 2300 Clear Creek Road, across the street from Metroplex Hospital. Since its opening in mid-March, Breakenridge, who is director of operations, has been courting referrals from his neighbors and announcing the store's arrival with cards and fliers handed out personally and radio and newspaper advertisements. He is working on a closer alliance with Metroplex, which has an inpatient but not an outpatient pharmacy.
Business has grown from about 12 prescriptions a day at opening to about 30 a day now.
"Years ago, a patient would do business with one pharmacist, who would know him or her by name," he said. "That's the kind of relationship we're trying to provide, opposed to the big corporate model where you might see a different pharmacist every time you go in the store. I don't need 20 mechanics working on my car. I need one good one. That's what we're offering."
The president of the operation is James Dykes, a pharmacist from Houston. Dr. Robert Austin, a retired pediatrician, is chief executive officer. Breakenridge, a pharmacy technician, left the Army in 1993 after stints in pharmacy refill and as noncommissioned officer in charge of outpatient pharmacy services at Darnall Army Medical Center on Fort Hood. He worked in pharmacies in Winn-Dixie and Kmart and lately has led Centipharm, under contract to provide staff for the six Austin city clinics.
"We secured our place in this center before it was built," he said. He had the dream first, then secured the partnership of Dykes and Dr. Austin, longtime professional acquaintances.
Hours during startup, with a small staff, are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The store offers delivery during daylight hours in the vicinities of Killeen, Harker Heights and Copperas Cove, working sometimes from faxes from doctors. A flier says active-duty soldiers have no co-pay in most cases.
"Our delivery people are mostly retirees and Shoemaker High School students," Breakenridge said. "We're close to Shoemaker, and there's one student who has come by almost every day after school. We want to give back to the community through charitable work, but also through mentoring our employees and other young people who are interested in what we do.
"And we're proud to say we're veteran-owned," he said. "This is the only veteran-owned pharmacy in town."
Contact Don Bolding at email@example.com or (254) 501-7557.