Jenna Hauck/ The Progress

Friendly, caring service at newly opened Cascade Pharmacy

A bubbly customer walks into Cascade Pharmacy on a mild fall morning and is warmly greeted by owner and pharmacist, Chandra Perumal.

A bubbly customer walks into Cascade Pharmacy on a mild fall morning and is warmly greeted by owner and pharmacist, Chandra Perumal.

The client has been in the new downtown Chilliwack pharmacy exactly once before, but Perumal remembers her name, her condition, and what prescription she’s picking up. She remembers his friendly face and they both laugh together while chatting, as if they were old friends. She rambles on about how conveniently located the pharmacy is, but especially how caring Perumal is towards his customers.

And he is.

Over the course of an hour, Perumal fields several phone calls, remembering every single customer and asking them how they are doing and how their prescription is working out for them. The same goes for walk-ins as one man steps into the pharmacy and Perumal recognizes his face and asks him how his leg is healing.

“Not well,” the man replies honestly, but goes on to ask Perumal how business is going for him.

“Very well. Thank you,” he says with a smile.

Owning his own pharmacy is something Perumal has wanted for a while, and on May 24 his business dream came true.

He has been a pharmacist for 20 years. He studied for his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in India, completing that in 1997, and then completed his master’s in 1999. He emigrated to Canada in 2005, moving to Toronto with his wife and daughter. Three years later, they moved further west to Chilliwack.

For nearly 10 years he worked at one pharmacy in Chilliwack.

“It was a great position. Well paid, well recognized — that’s the reason I was there for a long time — but I always wanted to have my own store… to make myself fulfilled,” he says.

“The big thing is optimizing the patient’s care. Filling a prescription that the doctor wrote is the basic expectation of any pharmacist,” he says. “It’s not just filling a prescription, it’s a very simple thing of listening to somebody which makes them happy.”

He says by simply speaking with his customers, he can find out if they’re on a fixed income, whether or not they have private insurance, how long they’ve been on a certain medication, what other prescriptions they’re taking, and more. Perumal has the time to speak with customers whereas doctors often can’t spend as much time with their patients as they may like.

Perumal gives one example of faxing his customer’s doctor with three suggestions of cheaper prescription options. He ended up saving his customer, who was on a fixed income without any private insurance, $55 for one prescription.

Located a few blocks east of Five Corners, Cascade Pharmacy sees a lot of foot traffic, clients with mobility issues, and people on low or fixed incomes.

“I wanted to come to the neighbourhood because I see lots of people who don’t drive,” he says, adding that people are very appreciative that he’s opened a pharmacy in that location.

Perumal designed the floor plan for Cascade Pharmacy himself. He has a blood pressure machine, medical grade fridge, and more than one consultation area to ensure customers’ privacy, plus the pharmacy is very wheelchair friendly.

“I can proudly say that when they walk in, they see value here,” says Perumal. “I’ve been so lucky — people come in and they’re willing to move their service here. If they give that trust, I’m willing to give 200 per cent.”

Cascade Pharmacy is the earliest opening pharmacy in Chilliwack. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Free home delivery is available after hours. The pharmacy is located at A-46298 Yale Rd. For more info, call 604-795-6122, or email chandra@cascadepharmacy.ca.