Ownership “Game Changer” Affecting Independents in 2011

By Bill Popomaronis, RPh

I purchased my first pharmacy in 1982.  With $10K down, borrowed from my Dad, and a kind owner willing to take paper for $170K more over 15 years, I was on my way to a professionally and financially rewarding career in community pharmacy ownership.

Unfortunately, this has not been the case most recently for young graduates with a similar mind set. Lack of personal equity, six-figure student loans and the enticement of a fast buck from publicly traded chains forced some to abandon their dream of ownership.

But not everyone. Many “hungry”  entrepreneurs with the assistance of NCPA and our ownership academy tools and programs got creative, opening “start ups”, becoming “junior partners” and doing just about anything to realize their dreams.

That is good but really, not enough. NEVER satisfied, NCPA recently teamed with Live Oak Bank (LOB), to help facilitate funding for the purchase of “going concern” pharmacies by young pharmacists.  Read this October news release for more details.

From the LOB perspective, pharmacists are generally a good bet as historically they rarely default on their loans. LOB believes in the health care value independent pharmacies bring to communities just like the one I started in. If LOB was there when I started I might own 25 stores today.

If not me, then how about you!


2 Responses to “Ownership “Game Changer” Affecting Independents in 2011”

  1. 1 Josiah Schomer January 16, 2011 at 6:27 am

    As a P-4, I can definitely relate to having 6 figure loans that prevent me from taking the plunge. At this point, It’s no help to me at all for more debt to get tacked on to my already massive student loans in the form of yet another loan. If NCPA really wants to help, offer more scholarships and get OU to lower tuition!

  2. 2 Bill Popomaronis, RPh January 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Pharmacy school is not cheap, and I appreciate you not wanting to add to your debt service. However, please allow me to clarify my thought process. Live Oak Bank is willing to lend the money necessary to buy a pharmacy even with a burdensome student loan….with very little money down. To me that’s a game changer!

    So, if the buyer can manage a small down payment and business cash flow is sufficient to make the principal and interest payments, then he or she will have a valuable asset after 15 years, while running a pharmacy their way. IMHO this makes good business sense. In 1998, I sold that pharmacy that was purchased with the help of $10K borrowed from my father, and I had enough extra to pay my student loans, too:)

    Of course, it makes perfectly good sense to pay down your debt before you even consider ownership. If there is anything I can do to answer any more of your questions (short of paying your student loans…lol) please do not hesitate to email or call me.

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