Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Vicky Dorvee

Old-time service thrives at expanded Flatirons Family Pharmacy


Photo by Vicky Dorvee Jennifer Palazzolo, owner of Flatirons Family Pharmacy, stands in the newly rebranded and expanded store at 603 Ken Pratt Blvd. in Longmont.

Although it may seem that Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart, and Kroger (King Soopers) have cornered the market on drug sales, there are more than 22,000 independent pharmacies across the United States according to the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).

Flatirons Family Pharmacy, on the southwest corner of Highway 287 and Ken Pratt Boulevard, is one of the 150 plus independent pharmacies in Colorado, according to NCPA’s 2016 Digest report. Opened four years ago by owner-pharmacist Jennifer Palazzolo, business has been growing every year and even more so this past year.

Flatirons fills prescriptions for pre-manufactured pharmaceuticals as well as compounded medications. What prompted a recent upgrade to the store was a change in federal regulations for compounding labs.The business now has what is called a USP 800 lab which all compounding facilities are required to have in place by the end of 2019.

New signage with the tagline “compounding and gifts,” a 1,000 square-foot expansion, a compounding lab that was tripled in size, additional employees, fresh inventory lines, and supplemental services are all part of the plan by Palazzolo to bring her customers the care and conveniences they want.

Compounding, now a prominent word on the new exterior signs, is the science of mixing together separate ingredients as prescribed by doctors to meet the precise needs of their patients. Doctors might find that a different dosage will work better for the patient than an off-the-shelf product, or a liquid or lozenge form may be what the patient can more easily ingest, or the specific combination of ingredients may not exist in a premade pill. In these instances, a compounding technician will prepare the recipe.

Patients are frequently not human either. Veterinary prescriptions are a significant percentage of Flatirons’ compounding business.

The misconception that their prices will be higher than bigger pharmacies is a challenge for independent drugstores. Palazzolo explained that smaller stores are frequently able to offer lower pricing than big umbrella corporations due to lower overhead costs, and they are able to source more reasonably priced medication.

“It’s always worth a phone call to compare prices,” Palazzolo said.

Palazzolo went from being a one-person show when the store first opened in 2014 to having a “great team of well-trained employees” which now includes five pharmacists and eight other workers.

In the next six months the business will be expanding its scope of services to include lab tests, such as strep or flu testing, so patients can avoid urgent care visits. Additionally, the pharmacy will be providing immunizations and will open a travel clinic. Palazzolo said that in the near future, the store will be holding doctor-led educational sessions covering topics like diabetes and Cannabidiol (CBD) products.

Along with ordinary drugstore items like band aids, pain relievers, and vitamins, Flatirons carries alternative healthcare items like essential oils and CBD products.

For people who can’t drive to the pharmacy or may not be able to leave a patient or pet at home, there’s free prescription delivery to Longmont, Niwot, and Gunbarrel. Most major forms of insurance are accepted along with Medicare and Medicaid.

Including the word family in the business name was really important to Palazzolo because she wants her customers to feel comfortable - even pets are warmly welcomed. While customers are waiting, they’re offered free tea, coffee and biscotti, and can relax in a massage chair.

The rebranding also included the word “gifts” because a large part of the store’s floor space is devoted to special items not found at big box stores. Kari Scott, director of operations at Flatirons, said most of the gifts are under $20 and many are made locally. There are treats from Longmont’s own Robin’s Chocolates, fun socks, bracelets, scarves, mugs, and pet products. Scott pointed out that many of the manufacturers they’ve chosen support philanthropic causes with each purchase.

Palazzolo said. “Our uniqueness is in turning back time so we can be the neighborhood pharmacy that a lot of people grew up with.”

Watch for a grand opening event in June. For more information, visit http://www.flatironsrx.com or call 303-827-3480.


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