Coming Soon: Hickman’s Pharmacy
This independent, family-run pharmacy is slated to open its doors in Leland this September.
If long lines at big-box stores like Walgreens and Rite Aid have you longing for slower, simpler times, Hickman’s Pharmacy will soon offer an alternative experience. A modern-meets-traditional neighborhood pharmacy, Hickman’s singular focus is on serving the patient — free medication delivery included.
While this is his first business, Wes Hickman has worked in pharmacies for most of his life. After a brief stint slinging barbecue, Hickman got a job as a cashier at CVS in Shallotte at the age of 16. From there, he climbed the ranks to become a pharmacy technician and intern, apprenticing under Joey Galloway of Galloway-Sands Pharmacy in Supply. In 2005 he graduated with his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For less than a year, Hickman worked as a pharmacist in Raleigh before he was called back to the coast. “I smelled the salt in the air and knew I had to get back to the beach,” he remembers. As a young pharmacy manager, Hickman was put to work fixing national chain pharmacies across eastern North Carolina, from Durham to Wallace to Southport, Shallotte and Whiteville. If pharmacies were underperforming and losing patients, Hickman was sent to identify the problem and fix it.
While he built a career improving the performance of pharmacies, Hickman is concerned about what optimization means for pharmacists and their customers. “These businesses approach pharmacies like a math problem,” he says. The goal is always to increase the speed and output — even if that means pharmacist burnout and medication errors.
Case in point: On Hickman’s last day at the national chain pharmacy, he filled more than 550 prescriptions in 13 hours, with the help of four technicians. He took minimal bathroom breaks and no lunch or dinner break. “And that’s the standard at every pharmacy in the country,” he says. “I can’t talk to somebody I’ve known for four years that just got diagnosed with diabetes when I’m getting pressure from ten phone calls because I’m not properly staffed. If I can’t spend five minutes talking to him, why am I even doing this?”
Now, Hickman has a clear vision for his own pharmacy. “I want to be able to provide the service that I feel is missing from big-box pharmacies. It’s about taking care of the people that are in front of me and doing the job the way it should be done, with integrity.”
Hickman will serve as the store’s pharmacist with two pharmacy technicians, a delivery driver and his wife, Ashley, as the business manager and front clerk. The first and only compounding pharmacy in the area, Hickman’s Pharmacy will offer prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, medical equipment and immunizations. While the store won’t be filled with winding aisles of make-up, cleaning supplies and toys, it will offer additional natural remedies, such as CBD oil and essential oils.
“We’re trying to share the Eastern and Western approach — it’s not a one-size-fits-all in medicine,” Hickman says. “If it helps patients, I’m here to help.”
While Hickman’s Pharmacy brings to mind the traditional neighborhood pharmacy of yesteryear, Hickman aims to serve today’s patient with an emphasis on personalized care and convenience. In this spirit, the pharmacy will provide a free delivery service for regular maintenance medication and acute medication, in case you’re sick or homebound.
Hickman’s Pharmacy will be located at Ocean Gate Plaza, 1132 New Pointe Boulevard in Leland, alongside Dunkin’ Donuts, Leland Tobacco and Michelakis Smile and Implant Dentistry. Follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/hickmanspharmacy/.