Marla Bilton-Westbury’s calling into independent pharmacy ownership came through a tragedy in the little town of St. George, South Carolina, about 40 miles northwest of Charleston. Until September of 2005, three busy pharmacies served the 2,100 residents and surrounding communities. Two of these pharmacies, run by independent owners and located next to each other in the downtown business district, were lost to ruinous fires on September 11, 2005. Cash Drug would eventually rebuild, but St. George Pharmacy was forever a memory. The loss left a hole in patient care services, and the community turned to a new practitioner raised in St. George who had returned home after pharmacy school to raise her family and serve the community.
Marla was home to stay and determined to establish a business that would best serve the needs of her patients well into the future and hopefully be a lasting legacy for her children or another local aspiring pharmacist. Therefore, Marla and her husband Craig decided the pharmacy would have to be newly erected, free standing and located on just the right parcel of land. Thus began the task of starting a new business while managing existing careers and beginning a new family.
Marla learned about the Community Pharmacy Institute (CPI) from former classmate Jennifer Baker PharmD, RPh who was the current Director of Professional Affairs for the South Carolina Pharmacy Association (SCPhA). CPI was a program established in 2004 by the SCPhA along with several wholesaler partners to provide pharmacy entrepreneurs with hands-on management skills to successfully run their own community pharmacy. After completing the CPI program as the second graduate, Marla focused her newly learned skills on developing a business plan, securing funding, incorporating the business, and permitting and contracting with a multitude of agencies and vendors.
Craig used his engineering background to manage all design, development, and construction aspects as well as performing much of the labor with the help of friends and family. Locally owned contractors and businesses were utilized for the vast majority of the overall project.
The journey was not without some difficulties or setbacks, but with God’s help and a passion to serve the community, Westbury Pharmacy, Incorporated opened its doors for business on December 14, 2007. Since that day, the pharmacists and staff of Westbury Pharmacy have worked diligently to provide the best pharmaceutical care for our patients.