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March 31, 2009 | last updated November 30, 2011 5:42 pm

Chamber exec opens specialty pharmacy

Photo/Courtesy Mark McAuliffe
Photo/Courtesy Mark McAuliffe
Mark McAuliffe, president of the Portland Community Chamber of Commerce, is a managing partner of Apothecary by Design, a new pharmacy in Bayside

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From Jerry

Great Idea. Nice article.

A Portland startup company expects to pull in $6 million with its new business that puts a modern twist on the old-fashioned pharmacy and soda fountain concept.

Apothecary by Design, open since November in the shiny new Intermed building on Marginal Way, is gearing up for a grand opening, Managing Partner Mark McAuliffe tells Mainebiz. Espressos take the place of egg creams at the pharmacy's sister coffee shop, Perx-U-Up Café, but a traditional focus on service remains, he says. "We're here to be a personal place for you to get attention and care," McAuliffe says. "It's not just a place for you to pick up your scrip and leave."

McAuliffe, president of the Portland Community Chamber of Commerce, teamed up with the business' three pharmacists and one other partner to invest over $2 million in the startup, with assistance from the Finance Authority of Maine.

In addition to typical retail prescription services, Apothecary by Design offers pharmaceutical compounding for customized medications and nutritional wellness and disease management services. The services cater to transplant patients, people with drug allergies and women with reproductive health concerns, among others, McAuliffe says. The pharmacy also has a nurse and homeopathic professional on staff, he says. About half of the pharmacy's retail prescriptions come from patients of the 45 physicians in the 10-story Intermed building, while workers at local businesses make up the bulk of patrons at the café.

In the span of two months, the 4,800-square-foot space went from a shell with no windows to opening its doors, McAuliffe says of his first entrepreneurial venture. Apothecary by Design now employs about a dozen people, all with health benefits, and the partners expect first-year revenues to top $6 million, he says. Describing the market for a specialized pharmacy in Portland, McAuliffe quoted the business' ad campaign: "When did we go from pharmacies that were convenient to convenience stores that have a pharmacy?"

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