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Local pharmacists Rosanne Boyd, left, and Rachael Atkinson are celebrating 10 years in business. Williamsburg Pharmacy has undergone big changes, such as automated dispensing technology and text alerts.

Photo by Michaele Duke

It’s not often you see lifelong friends become business owners. It’s even better when they celebrate 10 years together. Rachael Atkinson and Rosanne Boyd were classmates from kindergarten through 12th grade and went on to graduate pharmacy school together. Boyd would work for a small locally owned pharmacy in Kingstree that eventually merged with a chain store. At that point she saw the need for a locally owned independent pharmacy to serve the community so the two decided to go into business together.

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Friendly staff is one reason that keeps customers coming back. Louisa Faile, who attended pharmacy school with Rachael Atkinson and Rosanne Boyd, joined the team in 2012.

Photo by Michaele Duke

“Having both worked in chain drugstores we knew that operating our own store would allow us to give our patients the extra attention that they deserved,” said Boyd. Williamsburg Pharmacy opened on Sept 13, 2010, with two employees. Today they employ a staff of 11. The pair have added automation, enlarged the building at 411 Thurgood Marshall Highway and added many new items to the over the counter product line.

Atkinson and Boyd have been awarded the Williamsburg HomeTown Chamber Merchant of the Year and have been chosen Williamsburg County’s Best Pharmacy and Best Pharmacist for two consecutive years. They serve as a pharmacy rotation site for pharmacy students that are seeking clinical rotations and have had several student interns over the years. “The role of the pharmacist in providing patient care has changed significantly over the last 10 years,” said Boyd. “Community pharmacy has given me the opportunity to make lifelong friendships with my customers and be a part of their families through the happy illness-free times, as well as guide them through the more challenging illnesses, medication administration issues and drug interaction questions. Now, I can further protect their families by administering vaccines and through disease state management.”

Atkinson said pharmacy technology is changing daily and because of that they are able to take advantage of many new opportunities that are available to us. “Our Parata robot has given us automation that allows us to spend more time on patient care and less time counting pills,” she said. “We are able to send out text alerts with refill reminders to patients that ultimately improve their adherence to medications. We are able to provide MedSync opportunities for our customers so that they can get all of their medications refilled at one time.”

The pair have had to make several adaptions during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep staff and customers safe. “We had to act swiftly to come up with a plan to make sure that our customers could get their medications safely and efficiently,” said Atkinson. They began offering curbside drop off and pickup, encourage the use of the drive-thru and made extra pharmacy staff available to those in the drive-thru line for dropping off and picking up prescriptions and OTC medications.

Williamsburg Pharmacy is currently offering drive-thru flu shots to ease the burden on those who are not able to go inside a doctor’s office or pharmacy safely by allowing them to stay inside their own vehicles. “It is important to remember that while we are currently focused on COVID-19; the flu season is quickly approaching and we need to be prepared for the challenges it will bring,” said Boyd.

Many things have changed over the past 10 years but for Atkinson and Boyd, providing the very best in pharmacy services has not changed. “We are so appreciative of the support that our community provides to us and grateful for the friendships we have made along the way,” said Atkinson. “We are so proud to be your locally owned pharmacy of choice.”