With a commitment to the community that goes well above the call of duty, Nickle’s Pharmacy in Marmora is a model for how a business can grow and thrive in a smaller community.
Maha Majeed took over Nickle’s Pharmacy in 2004. It was struggling a bit at the time, and had been losing customers, including a number of long-time regulars. She and her husband Heidar immediately set to work to not only bring back the customers the business had lost, but to become an integral part of the community itself.
“There were a lot of challenges because I wanted to get those people back and to restore trust in their local pharmacy,” said Majeed who decided that community outreach and exceptional customer service would be the hallmarks of the business’ restoration.
She developed a number of special in-store events that generated coverage in the local media and also goodwill amongst the residents, including various draws and contests. Majeed would go out into the community and speak with seniors groups and church groups, talking about the various services Nickle’s had and also advising folks on various health and pharmacy-related topics.
“I want to develop one on one relationships with people because that makes it easier for me to understand their needs. And my staff are the same way. We make it fun to come to work every day,” said Majeed.
Originally from war-torn Iraq, Majeed and her family (which includes one son and one daughter, ages 19 and 13) came to Canada in 1996. Already a trained pharmacist, she earned her Canadian licence in 1999 and worked as a pharmacist for a big chain in Mississauga.
The workload was brutal. Majeed toiled seven days a week, 12 hours a day. She rarely saw her family and was making little financial headway as the money she brought in barely covered the exorbitant costs of living in the GTA.
She quickly realized she wanted to move to a smaller community, one where she could not only keep more reasonable hours, but also be in a better financial situation. A real ‘people person’ Majeed also knew she wanted to be in a community where you could really get to know your neighbours and customers and feel like you were making a positive contribution to their lives and the overall health and vitality of the community.
When she saw that Nickle’s was available for purchase, she leapt at the opportunity, even knowing that it would be a challenge, especially over the first few years.
“The people are so nice here and I know my husband really misses his family back home, but since we moved here to Marmora it’s like the whole community has become our family. And now he hates going to the city. The pace of life, the fresh air – we really enjoy being here.”