Family Pharmacies

Family pharmacist

The majority of pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies within a retail or customer service-style setting, like a grocery store, drug store, department store, or even with an online company.

A significant number of pharmacy technician workplaces are part of a chain or franchise, while some pharmacies are still independently or family-owned.

Let’s take a look at two longstanding family-run pharmacies:

Rayfield’s Pharmacy

Forty years ago, on April 1, 1975, Tommy Rayfield and his wife Francie opened Rayfield’s Pharmacy in Nassawadox, Virginia. According to DelmarvaNow’s Malissa Watterson, 74-year-old Tommy continues to fill prescriptions alongside fellow pharmacists and pharmacy techs five hours a day, seven days a week.”

When they first started the business, the Rayfields were extremely busy. During the day, Francie ran the shop while pharmacist Tommy worked at the Northampton-Accomack Memorial Hospital. Then, after school, Francie would take care of their sons and prepare dinner for the family, and Tommy would open their pharmacy for evening hours.

“There was something satisfying about doing that because I got a look at two different sides of pharmacy because hospital pharmacy is quite different than community pharmacy,” Tommy is quoted as saying in Watterson’s article.

Relationships with customers, is important to Tommy, and he says this is more possible through working in an independent versus a chain pharmacy. In her article, Watterson shares an occasion when the pharmacist and one of his sons filled a prescription at two in the morning for a parent whose child had a serious infection. (The father had found Tommy’s after-hours, emergency number in the phone book).

Tommy and Francie’s sons also became pharmacists. The family now owns a second store in Cape Charles which not only features a pharmacy but also a restaurant and a drive-thru for pharmacy orders. “Our quaint bayside town has had a hometown drugstore with soda fountain for over 80 years and thanks to the Rayfield family, that friendly, old-fashion tradition continues today,” describes “…Sit a spell at a lunch counter stool or roomy booth and find out why locals flock here for our vanilla cokes – we still make our own vanilla using a secret time-honored Cape Charles recipe.”

According to Watterson, 35 employees work for the Rayfield businesses with some being with them for over three decades.

Schaeper’s Pharmacy

There has been a pharmacy at the corner of Hamilton and Chase Avenue, in Cincinnati, Ohio since 1901. It has been owned and run by the Schaeper family for 30 years from the time Jerry Schaeper bought the pharmacy.

Jerry is no longer alive, but his son Rick took over the business. Rick’s son Tyler is currently studying to become a pharmacist at the University of Cincinnati, the alma mater of his father and grandfather. Tyler was inspired to become a pharmacist after working as a pharmacy technician at Schaeper Pharmacy while still in high school.

“In many ways, Schaeper’s is a flashback to simpler times, with a few sundry items such as cough drops and Kleenex on limited shelf space,” states a University of Cincinnati Health News article from May 19, 2015. “‘It’s more of an apothecary. Ninety-five percent of my business has been selling prescriptions as opposed to selling garden hoses,’ Rick says of the historic brick and mortar storefront where he employees two full time pharmacists, two part time pharmacists and three pharmacy technicians.”

According to UC’s Health News, Rick Schaeper says times are getting tough for independent pharmacies. But they’ve chosen to evolve to fit the demands and trends of the 21st century, like increasing patient care such as “medication therapy management for diabetes patients,” and are determined to stay in business for a long time.

Are there any family-run or independent pharmacies in your community? Maybe you’d like to work for one…and possibly as a pharmacy technician. Learn more about how to become one: