How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Location


The location you choose for your pharmacy will greatly contribute to its success or demise.

Deciding where to locate is one of the first major choices you'll make while building your pharmacy business.

The location you choose for your pharmacy will greatly contribute to its success or demise. For many, unfortunately, the best counter is counterintuitive.

The spots where chain store pharmacies hoist their flags is now more important than previously believed by independent pharmacy owners. Chain stores have the benefit of high-powered, high-cost real estate specialists who select their locations for them with great aptitude.

If you don't have that kind of budget, then you'd better do your homework.

A compelling argument can be made for 2 things to look for when choosing a pharmacy location. Neither has any relationship to the other, but both must be considered. They are:

  • Adjacent to an upscale residential area
  • Next to a chain store pharmacy

If both of these characteristics are not simultaneously available, then always go with the first: being in or near an upscale neighborhood. An alternate approach is to be on or close to a highway that connects high-income families to your store.

Please note that positioning your pharmacy inside a medical arts building is bad news today. For the past 10 years, I have seen with my own eyes that this location is disadvantageous from town to town and in 1 city after another.

Being in a medical arts building is yesterday’s news. Your grandpa's pharmacy business model is outdated, and the model that succeeds today requires a different location. Today, being in a strip mall, shopping center, or free-standing building is good, but being next to a chain store like CVS, Rite Aid, or Walgreens is the best.

This has been validated by research from MIT’s famous Sloan Management School. Your sales will increase because the chain stores bring in people who are mainly there to find something to aid their maladies. These people will notice how different you are as long as you truly differentiate yourself.

Such a location can make the difference in tens of thousands of dollars in high-margin sales. It’s like opening a clothing store or a gift shop located next to Macy’s.

This article features excerpts from Lester Nathan's book, So You Want to Open Your Dream Pharmacy—Lot’s of Luck Unless You Embrace the Following Business Practices to Ensure Your Success.

The Pharmacy Sage can be reached at (518) 346-7021 or

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