Jessica McMakin, PharmD, and Marina Mangham, CPhT, enjoy providing personalized service to their local community
Jessica McMakin, PharmD, and her best friend, Marina Mangham, CPhT, own an aesthetically colorful new pharmacy called The Apothecary Room in Edmond, Oklahoma. Assisting them is Lexi Hyam, PharmD. The 3 met while working at another independent pharmacy about 6 years ago.
After working together at various chains and independent pharmacies over the years, McMakin and Mangham knew they made an unstoppable team.
“We continued to follow one another to other independent pharmacies until we had the amazing opportunity to open our own in Edmond that we just couldn’t pass up,” McMakin recalled. “Getting to slow down at an independent [pharmacy] gave us the opportunity to get to know each of our patients and help them more adequately, and we knew we finally found where our careers should be. Opening our own has been the biggest reward already, and we’re just getting started.”
McMakin is proud to run a woman- and minority-owned pharmacy, with the main focus on patient care and customer service. The owners employ a cash pricing model and do not accept traditional insurance, allowing them to “offer affordable medications to patients without the hassle of insurance,” McMakin explained.
The brightly colored vials and decor in the pharmacy were intentionally chosen, McMakin said.
“We knew as owners, we’d be spending so much time at our pharmacy [and] we wanted to ensure that it was a colorful and happy place to be,” she said. “The little details matter, and we spent a lot of time making every decision. We knew we didn’t just want a boring white-and-gray pharmacy that everyone was so used to seeing. We wanted our patients to smile and feel welcome as soon as they walk in, and we think we accomplished that.”
In addition to the cheerful, bright atmosphere, the pharmacy staff make patients feel welcome by greeting them by name and thanking them for coming in. They display a 4000-mL beaker filled with mints and chocolate for their patients.
“Customer service is what sets us apart from other pharmacies, [and] it has always been our primary focus. We pride ourselves on knowing our patients, so they always feel like they are important, because they are,” McMakin said.
Supporting the local community and other small businesses in Edmond is a priority for this pharmacy team. They plan to visit local small businesses and provide flu shots via their mobile flu shot clinics, and to host frequent events on disease states, supplements, and wellness.
“We have seen that the lack of access to a pharmacist prevents patients from asking all the questions they have, and this will give us more individual time to address their concerns and issues on a similar topic,” McMakin said.
The pharmacy team also plans to leverage social media. You can find them on Facebook (The Apothecary Room), Instagram (@theapothecaryroomrx), and TikTok (@theapothecaryroom), where they will advertise and create content for their patients in a fun and accessible way.
As owners of one of only a few USP 800–compliant compounding pharmacies in Oklahoma, McMakin and Mangham attend continuing education compounding courses to ensure that they provide the best compounded medications possible. McMakin added that they strive to make providers and patients aware of the endless possibilities of compounded medications and that there are answers to health issues besides branded medications.
“Our focus is on [hormone replacement therapy], methylene blue, low-dose naltrexone, and topical pain creams, but the sky is the limit. We have unlimited possibilities in the world of compounding and plan to branch out into dermatology, podiatry, pediatrics, and any other specialty that may need our services,” McMakin said.
In keeping up with the latest in compounding, the duo invested in 2 MAZ speed mixers. They also use a VIVID pill-counting machine to ensure accurate counting.
“Having these machines drastically cuts down on compounding time, which allows us to do more compounds and also provides consistent results, as we want to ensure our patients receive only the highest quality of compounded medication,” she explained.
In her spare time, McMakin enjoys spending time with family, binge-watching TV shows (The Office and Gilmore Girls are favorites), riding bikes, and traveling. Mangham enjoys spending time with her family and making custom sugar cookies for her company, Marina’s Cookie Co, which McMakin said makes “the best sugar cookies ever.”
About the Author
Karen Berger, PharmD, is a pharmacist at an independent pharmacy in Northern New Jersey.