John, Owner, Coventry’s Pharmacy

Coventry’s Pharmacy has been a core part of the Latrobe community since their opening more than 100 years ago. John bought the pharmacy 25 years ago, and still has the original prescription books on display to remind them of their longstanding community ties – the earliest log they have on display is from 1906!

Supporting the local community is a core value of the Pharmacy. The store is a longtime sponsor of many local sporting clubs, donates to community fundraisers, and supports the local school by providing work experience to year 10 students. John says they pride themselves on this involvement as it strengthens the relationship between the pharmacy and the community.

When the lockdowns hit, the store was designated an essential service and remained open, so the team made sure to take the necessary precautions to protect their patients. At the start of lockdown other local health services limited their access, which meant the pharmacy was busier than usual.

Many of the pharmacy’s patients came for advice while demand for flu vaccines and many prescription items skyrocketed, which was challenging for the team due to supply issues. John split the team in two so they could continue to provide for their community if a staff member fell ill, and utilised telehealth and contactless home delivery systems to make sure patients in self-isolation could receive treatment.

Restrictions were initially tough for the pharmacy. As they could only allow a small number of customers in store at one time, some people were forced to line up on the street. Thankfully, as the pharmacy has deep roots in the community, their locals were quick to understand and provided amazing support throughout.

John says that while the Pharmacy Guild and state government provided excellent advice, the supply issues and need for business support highlighted the difficulties of operating an independent pharmacy.

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