[7/19/22] In this day and age, locally-owned pharmacies are a pretty rare find. For Wilbur and Jazel Bautista, however, owning and managing an independent pharmacy right here in Pierce County is part of daily life.
Together, they run Acts Pharmacy and Healthcare Services located in Tacoma. Their small business is one of the only independent pharmacies currently operating in the South Sound. The two, who are also husband and wife, started the business on a leap of faith in 2018. Both have backgrounds in the medical field: Wilbur is a medical technologist and Jazel a pharmacist. Prior to creating Acts pharmacy, Wilbur was working at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the pathology department, where he learned about diseases and illness. Jazel worked at Walgreens, which helped her learn the ins and outs to what it takes to successfully run a pharmacy. Their experiences in these roles were positive, but the two felt a calling to personally do more for their community and provide a type of care that is difficult to achieve working for larger companies and organizations. Their shared passion became a shared vision when they decided to strike out on their own and open Acts Pharmacy in 2018.
Listen to the Wilbur and Jazel as guests on Making It in the South Sound to learn more about their business story and what's next for Acts Pharmacy and Healthcare Services.
"We just decided to think about an avenue that we both can share our passion...working in the medical field and at the same time helping the community."
Acts Pharmacy and Healthcare Services has now been in business for 4 years, a huge accomplishment for Jazel and Wilbur. It hasn't always been easy though. Like with many small businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic was an unexpected challenge Acts had to face. In the beginning, before vaccinations were available, the pandemic was taking a toll on business at the pharmacy. Rather than giving up, Jazel and Wilbur acted as savvy business owners and met the moment with unique solutions. They ramped up their local delivery services, found a local seamstress to create masks for the business, and even formulated their own pharmaceutical grade hand sanitizer.
"We really had to think out of the box and be able to to serve the community as a whole during those times. Knowing that vaccinations were coming, we were able to prepare."
In order to be prepared for the eventual vaccine rollout, Jazel and Wilbur made connections with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. Through a partnership with the Health Department, they were able to set up Acts Pharmacy as a COVID-19 vaccine location. They were one of the first and few locations in Pierce County to join with the Health Department in this venture. In addition to providing vaccines at the pharmacy itself, they took Acts to the community with visits to churches, schools, and family homes. They say this ability to be flexible is one of the many benefits of having a small, independent pharmacy.
Beyond COVID-19, Acts Pharmacy has continued to expand and grow. Since 2018, the staff has grown nearly double from 3 to 6 employees. They have recently launched an HIV PReP clinic in partnership with the Washington Department of Health to provide access to services that help prevent HIV infection in vulnerable communities. In addition to vaccines, Acts offers other medical services including lab tests, compression sock fitting, and medication management. They also have a retail area within the pharmacy where patients and customers can purchase healthcare essentials.
Last month, Acts Pharmacy and Healthcare Services were awarded the 2022 Spotlight on Business Award for Resiliency in Business. This award was given to them to celebrate the hard work and perseverance Wilbur and Jazel have shown in making their pharmacy a community-centered gem in local healthcare. The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is honored to have Acts Pharmacy as a member of our business community and we can't wait to see what they do next.
Learn more about Acts Pharmacy on their website.
This Member Feature story is part of a series by the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber to promote stronger connections and increased engagement between the Chamber, its members, and the local business community. Member stories are non-promotional opportunities to share members' business stories with the community. If you are a Chamber member interested in being featured for a story, please contact Digital Marketing Outreach Coordinator Audrey Widner at firstname.lastname@example.org
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