While some independent pharmacies have succumbed to the pressures of retail competition, CUW alumnus Michael Vineburg has found his niche serving the people of Port Washington.

Port Washington is no stranger to small businesses. The city is known to favor fidelity to mom-and-pop shops over large retail chains. Not least among these small-scale operations is Port Family Pharmacy, which is owned and operated by CUW alumnus Michael Vineburg (’16).

Port Family Pharmacy is the sole independent pharmacy in the approximately 12,500-person city. In 2022, Vineburg purchased a former Pizza Hut on one of the city’s main drags and converted the building into a health space that now proudly serves the community.

And the community has responded with enthusiasm. Last year, residents voted Port Family Pharmacy the best pharmacy in Ozaukee County. Praise for the business is also readily evident on the town’s unofficial Facebook group, “Port Washington Voice.”

The value of independent pharmacies

One of the main advantages of an independent pharmacy is also one of its biggest challenges from a business perspective: fewer clients. If the business can withstand the competition from larger-scale operations, however, the benefits of a personalized approach to health care can be immeasurable.

“It’s easy to bounce back and forth between health care providers, but when you do that you often lose the opportunity for your pharmacist to know your full medication history,” said Nancy Stoehr, PharmD, a professor and director of admissions at Concordia’s School of Pharmacy. “The more information we have on our patients, the better the care. And we get that from having continuity in our patient’s health care records and health care history.”

That’s precisely what drew Vineburg to community pharmacy: the relationships.

“I have a very idealized notion of how pharmacies should be,” Vineburg told CBS 58 reporter Emerson Lehmann. “That pharmacy where … it was a community place. Not just a place for healing, but also a place to build relationships and communicate with your community.”

In the media

Vineburg and Stoehr spoke with CBS 58 about the benefits of independent pharmacy. Click on the image below to view the full segment.

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