By Matt Mallio
Wicked Local – Action
Posted October 10, 2017
Pharmacists Saad and Ray Dinno always wanted their own shop so when the opportunity came to take over Acton Pharmacy, they jumped.
According to Saad, the pharmacy’s previous owner wanted to sell, but not to a chain, giving the two brothers their chance. That was Aug. 1, 1997. Two decades later, the brothers are celebrating their 20th anniversary in Acton with a Wellness Fair this Saturday at 563 Mass. Ave. The event will feature free blood-pressure readings, free skin-cancer screening, face painting, a raffle and giveaways, and yoga.
“Our mission of providing personalized care for all of our customers is only made possible through the tireless efforts of our staff,” said Ray. “This milestone means a lot to my brother and I, and we have to thank our loyal customers who have kept coming back for the last 20 years.”
For the Dinnos, pharmacy is in the family. Aside from he and his brother, Saad’s wife is a pharmacist. Their father runs Keyes Drug in Newton. Saad and Ray also own the West Concord Pharmacy. He and his brother learned a lot from their father’s business, specially about customer service. Saad said he tells those who work for them customer service comes first, always.
A part of the community
Saad and Ray view their business as an active part of the community. Saad said whether it is sponsoring sports teams, working with the Council on Aging, or the Acton Nurse Service, they want to provide whatever service their costumers and their community needs.
“We’re very lucky to be part of this community.,” Saad said.
What distinguishes the shop from some others, Saad said, is the level of service.
Some of those services include making to deliveries to those who need who may have difficulty getting out either for physical or scheduling reasons such as the elderly or a new parent. Saad said it is not uncommon for pharmacists who work at the shop to make deliveries on their way home. Saad himself said he’s made 9 p.m. deliveries. And, over the years, Saad said they have formed relationships with many customers. Some of these include multiple generations of the same family. They even have a customer whose been coming to the store since the 1940s, when it was owned by someone else.
“It’s amazing,” Saad said. “It’s a good feeling, because we’ve developed relationships (with customers).”
Another reason for the store’s success is the staff.
“We couldn’t have done without great loyal staff,” Saad said, some of whom who’ve worked there for many years.
Another important aspect of the business, Saad said, is compounding.
“Not everything on the shelf is for every patient,” said Saad.
Sometimes, a patient may have allergy or diet restrictions and cannot use a commercially available medicine. When that happens, the pharmacy may be able to help make customized medication to fit their needs. Saad said they try to work with doctor and patient to think outside the box” and come up with a solution.
“It’s personalized to their specific needs,” Saad said.
Saad said they compound medicines not just for people, but pets as well. The store, Saad said, does non-sterile compounding, so they do not produce things like injections and drops. .
They put in a new compounding lab in 2014.
“The letters and the feedback we get from patients,” Saad said. “I could show a wall of thank-you notes that we get.”
In one case, Saad said, they were able to help a girl of two or three who was enduring treatment for leukemia. They were able to compound medicine for her she needed to consume daily. And they were able to do it locally so the parents didn’t have to trek into Dana Farber Cancer Institute. That was some time ago.
“She’s thriving and she’s doing fantastic,” Saad said “and the mom keeps telling me: ‘we made her life a lot easier.’”
“That story stuck with me,” Saad said.