Fishtown Pharmacy: Kris Hunsicker

“My wife and I don’t know what to talk about anymore. All we used to do is complain about our pharmacy.”

These words were recently spoken to Kris Hunsicker by a newly transferred customer to Fishtown Pharmacy. It’s a complement that shows how his business is a more personal alternative to the chain stores. Fishtown Pharmacy alleviates the common inconveniences and unpleasantness you might find at a CVS or Walgreens. Kris and his technicians aim for a totally different experience from what this customer and his wife are used to. Read the reviews on Yelp and Facebook and you’ll find a general consensus. The service here is friendly, on time and stress-free.

Fishtown Pharmacy Storefront

Kris truly enjoys serving and helping people through his knowledge of medicine. Fishtown Pharmacy offers nutritional counseling, holistic and traditional medicine, vitamins, supplements and more. If you have a dog or cat, Kris will help your animal too. Veterinary compounding is a specialty at the pharmacy. If you can’t make it to the store, your medicine can be delivered. Whatever you could need from a pharmacy, Kris has you covered. “Service, service, service,” is the Fishtown Pharmacy mantra he told me. As you’ll see in our interview, customer experience here is all about compassion and individualized care.

How did Fishtown Pharmacy start?   I went to pharmacy school at University of the Sciences in the late 90’s, graduated, and took a job at the ShopRite in Port Richmond. I worked ten years there, and my wife and I had a baby on the way. I had always wanted to open my own store and always saw myself as being my own boss. At that time in my life, before my son was born, I took a “now or never” moment. I knew that if I was going to open up my own business, I had to do it then.

Fishtown Pharmacy Owner Kris Hunsicker

Why did you choose Fishtown as the location of your business?   As my family and I started the process and looked at surrounding neighborhoods in Port Richmond, we realized we had a huge personal attachment to Fishtown. It was the neighborhood we loved most, and we felt like we would fit in here more than anywhere. In retrospect, it’s a decision that turned out better than we could’ve ever imagined. The neighborhood has been so embracing. From the day we’ve opened, it’s been everything I could’ve hoped for. The community is so focused on local people, local business and artisans. Everything I believe in and stand for is here.

How did you first know you wanted to become a pharmacist?   When I was 15 years old, my aunt gave me some old pharmacy relics, which fascinated me. Her daughter, my cousin, went to pharmacy school. I had always looked up to her and really admired her job as a pharmacist. I saw myself in retail from the get go, as opposed to being behind a desk or in a hospital. Social interaction is something I really love about this job.

Fishtown Pharmacy Relics

What is the most satisfying part of being a pharmacist?   Helping people. It sounds so simple, but it really is just that. We like to say, “We don’t have any customers. We only have patients.” It’s sort of counterintuitive, but seeing someone get off of medicine is the peak achievement for a pharmacist. That concept gets lost in a lot of pharmacies where you find cigarettes, soda, candy—things that are addictive and adverse to health. Some people go into a CVS seeking to get better, but some people go there seeking sickness. If you can bridge that gap for people and help them steer towards a more healthy lifestyle, you’re doing your job. That’s definitely what gives me the most satisfaction—helping people and seeing them get better.

What advantages do independent pharmacies have over their corporate counterparts?   The personal aspect. We’re on a first-name basis with 98 or 99% of returning customers. When they come in, I know they’re name and they know mine. It’s sort of a “Cheers” atmosphere. I think that’s comforting to people and makes it easier for them to ask questions. It’s almost like you become part of their family, which is really endearing. Timing is another element. No one wants to wait when they’re sick. We try and stick to under five minutes for our wait times. I feel like if you can’t get the script out in a reasonable amount of time, it’s time to hire more technicians. We pride ourselves on a timely and friendly service.

Fishtown Pharmacy

What’s the story behind the Fishtown Pharmacy logo?   It stands for who we are. We wanted a logo that brought an old school, neighborhood pharmacy feel, like an old soda shoppe or soda fountain store. Every now and then someone will come in and say, “I thought you were a barbershop!” I think when people get a feel for who we are, the logo makes more sense. We always say we’re trying to bring pharmacy back to its roots, back to when a big part of it was about human interaction.

Describe your experience as a business owner in Fishtown.   I keep seeing positive changes. There’s always an interesting new business or shop opening, one that I end up walking in and out of and regularly patronizing. The only thing that stays the same here is the reception of the people. For example, the first time I went into the Philly Brewing Company I forgot my wallet. An employee there said, “Don’t worry about it. You can pay me next time.” I immediately thought, “I’ve never even been here before!” That’s the standard in the neighborhood. As long as everyone keeps doing their part, all you can do is hope to see that continue. Professionally, this has been the best experience of my life. It’s been rewarding on levels that have nothing to do with financial success. My family and I have found a personal happiness here.

Fishtown Pharmacy Mortar and Pestle

Fishtown Pharmacy is located at 1802 Frankford Avenue in Philadelphia. Go to the Fishtown Pharmacy website to learn more.

______________________________________________________________

See more Fishtown Spotlights interviews and articles.          Like Fishtown Spotlights on Facebook.                                                    Follow Fishtown Spotlights on Twitter.                                                  Follow Fishtown Spotlights on Instagram.

© Steven Sparber and Fishtown Spotlights, 2014. All rights reserved.

Sketch Burger: Phyllis Farquhar

Sketch BurgerPhyllis Farquhar, owner of Fishtown’s Sketch Burger, has made it her goal in life to simplify. “That’s what I try and do everyday,” she said in our interview. “I do the best possible work in the simplest way.” If you’ve been to Sketch, you know this philosophy holds true for her restaurant—the burgers are simply delicious. Continue reading

Wynn Philadelphia: More Than a Proposal

Two major factors should be taken into consideration for the next casino in Philadelphia: investment and environment. Wynn Philadelphia is unmatched in these aspects. It’s more than a proposal for city growth—it’s a guarantee.

Continue reading

Philadelphia Federal Credit Union

DSC_0429 C

An elegant brick and terracotta building stands at the corner of East Dauphin Street and Trenton Avenue in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia. This is the former 26th District Police Station, originally built in 1896 by architect John T. Windrim. Several decades ago this once beautiful and proud-looking piece of historical architecture suffered decay and neglect, and became abandoned. In 1984, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. A section of its nomination form for the Register reads, Continue reading

Bahdeebahdu: Warren Muller

Sign1.62

Bahdeebahdu is the invention of two creative forces: interior designer R.J. Thornburg and sculptor Warren Muller. Together, they offer design services to homes, hotels, restaurants, and corporate settings. Their work has been featured in numerous magazines, and in places like the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, Digitas Health, and the Westin Hotel in Philadelphia. Bahdeebahdu has gained a notable reputation in the Philly art scene because the work of R.J. and Warren perfectly complement each other. While R.J. designs interiors, Warren illuminates them. Continue reading

The Head & The Hand Press: Nic Esposito

Ampersand Strip 1Writers can present profound insights through their work, but for some their ideas may not reach beyond the page. They flourish in the world of words but become unstable in the world of people. We all know the image of the troubled author seen in someone like Hemingway, or the poet Dylan Thomas. Continue reading

Sustainable Butchery in Fishtown: Preview of B-Side Social Club at the Greensgrow Community Kitchen

DSC_0064 2

The Greensgrow Community Kitchen at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church recently held an event titled, “Whole Animal Butchering with Bryan Mayer and Michael Pasquarello.” The event was not only educational, but presented some of the ideas behind an exciting new culinary project in Fishtown called B-Side Social Club. Continue reading

Rossi Brothers Cabinet Makers: Victor Rossi

The desk in Victor Rossi’s office is laden with diagrams and drawings of furniture design, heavily annotated with notes. Above this disarray is a row of antique clocks Victor likes to fix, and a reproduction of Peter Paul Rubens’ “Prometheus Bound.” The wall opposite his desk is an extensive library of art books on different eras and crafts: Bernini, Art Deco, Bugatti. The collection is rich in variety. What’s apparent from Victor’s office is his overall appreciation for craftsmanship, and his deep knowledge of design. Victor has dedicated his life to his skill, and is able to reproduce any style of furniture with impeccable detail. A ceiling high bookcase from Victorian England, a French Empire style armchair fit for Napoleon Bonaparte—if it existed at some point in history, Victor will know how to make it.

Continue reading

Kensington Community Food Co-op: Peter Frank

I’ve become used to the inconsistencies of supermarket produce. I’ll put tasteless tomatoes in a salad, or peal a sour orange, and hardly notice it anymore. I just accept it as good enough. Occasionally, I’ll go out of my way to a food co-op, or venture to a local farmers’ market, and remember what real food tastes like. Biting into a ripe, natural tomato from Greensgrow gives the palate a vital reawakening.

DSC_0171

Continue reading

DiPinto Guitars: Chris DiPinto

Music became electric in the 1960’s, and so did the guitar. Kids across America were trading in their acoustics for something more modern and exotic. The irony was that they were learning how to play on Japanese guitars. Brands such as the once infamous Teisco (Tokyo Electric Instrument and Sound Company) were prevalent because they were cheaply made and easily affordable. As a result they had a reputation for being inferior in quality. Today, these guitars are valued as collector’s items due to the nostalgia attached to them, and because of their distinctive look. They are ornate with excessive switches and knobs, oddly shaped, and flamboyant in appearance. The “pawn shop” look of these eccentric instruments from another time became the inspiration for guitar designer Chris DiPinto.

Continue reading