Business: Hernando's Hometown Pharmacy
Location: 741 E. Landis Ave., Vineland
Owner: Hernando Perez, 45, and wife Kimberley, a registered nurse, of Vineland
Hernando's Hometown Pharmacy is a complete, full-service pharmacy. We fill prescriptions, do compounding; we take all the insurances, and we make deliveries.
The extra twist is, I have the store almost like a boutique-style pharmacy, with an old-school effect. We have a coffee bar, and the pharmacist knows you by name.
The population in Vineland is about 42 percent Hispanic, and I cater to that demographic. That's a niche I have. I think I'm the only Hispanic and only Puerto Rican to open a pharmacy in the region.
I have a main sign and also a sign in Spanish — Farmacia — which is the same in Italian. We also have a lot of Italians in town.
I also do home consultations for free. I go to people’s homes and help them reconcile their medications.
If they're taking 10 prescriptions, that can lead to confusion and conflicts, and we take care of that. I can also do that at the store, but at home there are no distractions.
I make many of the deliveries myself, so I get to know people. We have a friendly family atmosphere and fast service, so it's worth going a little out of your way.
Besides also speaking Spanish, we have a line of Spanish products such as Maja from Spain. They're popular in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean countries.
Entry: I've been a pharmacist for 21 years, and more than a year ago decided to open up my own store. I worked for Thrift Drug for two years, then for Acme Markets for 14 years, and then for ShopRite for four years.
Along the way you learn about running the business, and you learn about the customers, and I have had customers call and say they wanted to come with me.
I worked some extra hours to save up, and one of the owners I was working for kind of encouraged me to go on my own. Not only can you make more money, but your lifestyle is better, and you can do more in the community.
The future: My ambition is to make it a very profitable business, which would allow us to give back more to the community. You can live nice and secure, and have a bigger impact in the community. We've done some small fundraisers already, but I'd like to make a difference.