Union Pharmacy, a small, independent, family-owned business based in Newton, will open its doors at the corner of Great Plain Avenue and Chestnut Street in early 2024.
Jeff and Gary Katz, owners of the former Harvey’s Hardware at that location, set their sights on Union Pharmacy months ago. When they were the only nearby pharmacy offering walk-in COVID vaccines, the Katz brothers got in line.
Xiaoyan Qin, founder and owner of Union Pharmacy, said they had such a great experience, and liked the look and the environment, that they had their agent call her agent to discuss expanding into Needham.
“I met Jeff and Gary, they really wanted a good independent business moving to that location,” she said. That’s how we opened the conversation of having a third store in Needham.” Their other two locations are the original Newton Centre store, launched in 2019, and Newtonville.
“I’m excited about a local family business coming to Needham,” said Adam Conviser, principal of Conviser Property Group, Inc. (CPG) and broker for the property. “Harvey’s will not be duplicated, it’s one of a kind, but the future of downtown Needham is in good hands.”
Qin is eager to offer a different pharmacy experience for Needham residents. “I like to open stores next to CVS and Walgreens,” she said. “This is to say you have options.”
Before going off on her own, Qin worked for CVS for 10 years. She felt many things were missing in the experience. “I like to have customer relationships,” she said. “Like an old-time pharmacy but with great technology.”
A registered pharmacist, Qin has curated a pharmacy experience based on knowing and caring about her customers. “I value people and care about their health,” she said. As customers came through the Newton pharmacy, she knew them all by name.
The Needham store will have much the same feel of the other locations, but will feature two consultation rooms, and will be the only one of the three to manage longterm-care patients, not only in care facilities but for all customers.
Qin says her pharmacists handpick every medication in the front of the store and offer recommendations for supplements to patients with different needs. They also educate their patients in what nutrients they may be missing when taking specific medications. “We take the time to tell you,” she said.
In the fall, the store will begin to take shape. The pharmacy will occupy about 2,300 square feet.
Once it opens, Qin will be at the Needham location frequently, but she plans to hire two pharmacists to eventually run the store as she did in Newtonville.
“I’ve been in the field over 15 years,” she said. “When I tell people I’m looking for pharmacists, I will have many good pharmacists apply.” She also ensures everyone that walks into the pharmacy receives the same treatment.
“I have a great training system on how to be a good pharmacist,” she said. “How to be a Union pharmacist.”
Qin is excited to join the community and bring the same personalized customer care that the Katz family offered Needham residents for decades.