CONSTANCE BAY –Constance Bay Pharmacy owner Tamara Awada is celebrating the start of year five of her business by bringing it to a new location.
Just up the road, nearly a stone’s throw away, The Constance Bay Pharmacy opened the doors on its new, larger location at 179 Constance Bay Rd. on Monday, Nov. 16.
West Carleton Online visited the new pharmacy Thursday, Dec. 3. Awada was only too happy to take us on a tour of her new location – a huge part of the community leader’s vision for healthcare in Constance Bay moving forward.
“What brought me to this new location is what brought me to Constance Bay four years ago, which is community,” Awada told West Carleton Online. “When you live in a rural area you need extra healthcare services and a service area. Before the pandemic hit, this opportunity came up. Originally, I wasn’t planning to move, but then with the challenges I saw the community facing with extra services being needed, I wasn’t able to provide due to the size of the old building, the parking lot, so I decided this would be a good opportunity.”
Of course, like everything else, the pandemic caused issues with the move.
“Then the COVID-19 hit, and I had to kind of change the planning,” Awada said. “With lots of ups and downs and challenges and managing the store; securing a supply during COVID-19; securing staffing, to have extra team members on hand in case, God forbid, one member gets sick; when I found some time, I started planning to have this place set up. Finally, after a few months of planning, we started the renovations and construction in September and here we are now.”
The larger space will allow Awada to offer more healthcare services.
“Again, this was my philosophy from the beginning, being in a rural area doesn’t mean you have to have less than the highest standards of service for healthcare,” Awada said. “So, the plan is to make this a little health hub for this area. There are a few things in mind in terms of services. Unfortunately, I am not able to disclose that at this time, until I get everything in place, and then you will be the first person to know. I set the place up to the standards required by the Ontario College of Physicians, from the ducts to the plumbing to everything. I have this section prepared for the next phase. Expanding on some products. Pharmaceutical grade products, expanding to have more food and beverages and high-end vitamins and supplements and a few more things still in the making. I have the base and the skeleton done. I am hoping COVID-19 doesn’t give me any more challenges.”
Awada did share one new service she will be offering.
“One of the new services is I equipped the place with a professional compounding lab, which meets all regulations, to do a little more advanced compounding including, but not limited to, veterinary compounding as well,” Awada said. “This will be one of the few, if not the first pharmacy in Ottawa to do veterinary compounding.”
Awada already provides compounding services for humans. A compounding pharmacy creates custom medications from base ingredients for patients. Rather than providing a pre-mixed formula, the compounding pharmacist begins with base drugs, combining and preparing them to fit the individual patient’s needs. Now she can to that for the Constance Bay community’s pets as well.
“When you get the prescription from the pet, some animals, say, can’t chew the pills, so we can make the medicine in the form of a treat,” she said. “Some dosages are not available commercially, so we can tailor based on the vet’s recommendations. Usually, vets order off site. I got certified about a year and a half ago. I went to Florida for a course to be certified as a veterinary compounding pharmacist. Plus, we do normal human compounding.”
While Awada still has some work to do at the Constance Bay Pharmacy’s new location, she couldn’t be happier to have opened the doors at her new location.
“I’m happy that I can see my vision coming in to reality,” she said. “I don’t want people coming here who have a challenge. I can see the relief on our customers faces that they down have to go all the way in to the city core or to Arnprior to get what they need. I am quoting a customer who told me ‘you saved our nerves from having to wait in those big box stores.’ They feel more relaxed. My original slogan that your well-being counts and there is a human touch in every single encounter, it is a reality, and I am fortunate that everyone is happy with that. The community support has been amazing. I’m just speechless. The support is amazing, amazing, amazing. We are a good fit for each other.”