By Sean Meyer
Dr. Nick Vander Gulik has been with Shoppers Drug Mart for nine years, but he’s only been associate-owner of the downtown store for not quite two months.
While he hasn’t been running the franchise — located at Unit 100, 431 Richmond St. — for long, he’s already certain it is where he was meant to be.
“I really love people and I love health care. I love the relationships you build in a community pharmacy,” Nick said. “there is an intimacy with the downtown. It’s nice to see your customers come in and out every day and develop those relationships. It’s still like a small town down here. We have all the amenities of a large urban centre, but I love that you have the opportunity to get to know people.”
A pharmacist the past six years, Nick originally wanted to be a hospital pharmacist as he comes from a family of nurses and hospital administrators.
Then, his dad got seriously ill and he went into the nearby Shoppers Drug Mart in Strathroy.
The associate owner there came out from behind the desk and approached him in the aisle to offer his help, he even followed up with him the next morning. For Nick, that’s the kind of experience he wants customers to have in this store.
“I want them to feel a part of my family. That’s the country mentality I guess. Sometimes everyone has a bad day and we’re here to help them with that,” he said. “That’s what I see my business doing. It’s really about providing outstanding customer service . . . it’s about going the extra mile. It’s the little things, that’s how you develop a strong and resilient business. That’s how you serve the downtown.”
While offering all the typical convenience items customers are looking for, something Nick said he really pushes for at his store is what’s called professional services, which includes, everything from flu shots to medication reviews where they sit down with patients and review their medications.
As he puts it, “pharmacies really aren’t just about providing pills anymore,” but are instead about providing health care to the community in a very accessible kind of way.
Although he hasn’t been in London for long, Nick is quick to praise the downtown for all the opportunities it provides him when not at work.
“The reason why I love the downtown is because I do a lot of my recreation activities here. A lot of times I go to TAP, they do portrait drawing on Tuesday nights. I love the downtown because I am right here and I just get to go do that,” he said. “I love hiking the nature trails. My partner and I, we can go to the theatre after work. The great part is there is so much happening in the downtown and I don’t have to drive anywhere.”
As much as he loves his work, which Nick said is the best part of his day, one of his favourite things is getting to work.
Living just outside the downtown, Nick has become a big fan of simply walking into work every day. After all, it certainly beats his old job and the 45 minutes of driving back and forth he had to do every day for the past eight years.
“To be able to walk to work is great. I love the historic buildings downtown, the architecture,” he said. “If I’m booking it, I can get here in 20-25 minutes. If I’m casually sauntering, which sometimes I do, it’s about 30 minutes. I just love it.”
For more information, visit https://www1.shoppersdrugmart.ca/en/store-locator/store/736.
By Sean Meyer
When Dennis Garnhum looks at a map of London, he sees the Grand Theatre as “beautifully positioned” at the heart of the city, and given the recognition the venerable landmark gained recently, it seems others see it that way too.