Chris Luu, Deer Park Compounding Pharmacy

Chris has been a Melbourne based pharmacists for over 30 years. Having purchased the Deer Park Compounding pharmacy in 1997, Chris has been delivering outstanding customer service and looking after the health needs of his community ever since. The pharmacy was first established in 1962 and has had a few face lifts over the years, keeping pace with the changing needs of the community. The latest round of renovations completed in May this year and the pharmacy looks brands new – delivering a range of new health services with the same outstanding customer service the community has come to know and love over the years.

“My team shares my values and know that being trusted, reliable and down to earth will mean success for us all. I am very proud of my team, and we treat each other and our customers like family. We are focussed on going that extra mile to give personal service” says Chris highlighting his passion for pharmacy and helping the community.

“It has been a steep learning curve for me from when I bought the pharmacy to where I am today as a pharmacist and a business owner. When I was studying pharmacy, we didn’t learn anything on the business side of things – so the first few years were quite challenging. Over the years, I’ve learnt that the one thing that is crucial to the success of any business is listening to and connecting with your customers. I feel with the recent renovations, the pharmacy is ready to focus more on delivering a holistic experience for our patients” says Chris.

“It is important to remain relevant to the customers and change with the everchanging needs of the community,” that is what prompted the need for renovating the pharmacy. Post renovations the pharmacy has a more contemporary look and feel. The focus is on health service delivery rather than products. The well-spaced retail area is conducive to practicing forward dispensing. Chris has also invested in a state-of-the-art robotic dispenser that has given him more time to be on the pharmacy floor connecting with customers and focus on service delivery. Their newly fitted consult rooms are quite large, offering privacy and space. Currently the consult rooms are primarily being used for delivering vaccinations and health checks but as the need for vaccinations slows down Chris has plans of introducing a podiatry service as well as bringing in other allied health services. “Networking with the allied health professionals in the area is important to make sure they understand and feel comfortable with working in a pharmacy space. I’ve started to make connections with the aim of introducing them to the pharmacy and broader community to provide a holistic health offering in pharmacy” explains Chris.

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Priceline Pharmacy Ararat, Fiona Cochrane

Benefits of regional pharmacy

Before moving to Ararat and starting her pharmacy ownership journey, Fiona worked for over 14 years with a Melbourne based pharmacy. “My previous employer owned over five pharmacies and he taught me everything – from dispensing to running a business. He was very supportive and guided me through the pros and cons of buying a pharmacy business.”

“Rural is a bit of a lifestyle choice, more than anything else” says Fiona. “You have a steady customer base that you see very often and get to know them a bit better than you would in a metro” she adds.
“The biggest benefit is that it takes only 5 minutes to get to work!” she smiles as she goes on to talk about the benefits of working in a regional area.

“It’s a small community and everyone knows each other. It helps when we have to refer the patients to another provider, we can explain to the patients what is going to happen as we are familiar with the service or facility ourselves due to proximity.”

“Another benefit of a regional pharmacy is that I don’t pay as much in rent so I can afford to employ more staff” elaborates Fiona. “I’m a very hands-on owner of the business, so I’m at the pharmacy everyday and I know if things are getting out of hand.  Things get slightly harder for absentee pharmacy owners who don’t actually live in the local community as they don’t understand the real needs of the community” says Fiona.

Focusing on her time working in regional Victoria, Fiona says “I’ve always thought that for pharmacists it’s more rewarding and easy working in regional pharmacy. I understand moving away from the social aspects of city life can be difficult for some but regional pharmacy has its benefits and provides a lot of flexibility.”

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Page last updated on: 30 November 2023