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Smart pharmacist receives Macon entrepreneur honor

fr smartpharmAfter years of education and learning the pharmaceutical ropes, Jacob Reiche had just about reached the end of his.

He loved being a pharmacist but hated the corporate nature of his profession once he started working for a larger company. 

“I was absolutely miserable working for a corporation and I actually thought about changing my job,” he said. 

But he didn’t. Instead, he found a way to enjoy his work again by starting his own business — Smart Pharmacy — in Franklin. Starting your own business from scratch is no easy task as Reiche soon discovered. 

“Getting financing is one of the biggest hurdles because banks don’t want to loan money to start ups with no financial track records,” he said. 

Somehow Reiche made it work and the new business is moving right along into its second year of operation. It was that perseverance that earned him the first-ever Macon County BizWeek Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The new award was established by the Macon County Economic Development Commission to recognize the growing number of young entrepreneurs in the county.

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“The committee felt that Jacob epitomized the true definition of an entrepreneur. Starting only with an idea and the desire to succeed,” said Tommy Jenkins, Macon County’s EDC director. “Jacob displayed the initiative and accepted the risk to build a successful business.”

Reiche is originally from Maine and attended pharmacy school at the University of Florida. He relocated to Franklin 10 years ago after graduation to take a job as the pharmacy manager at K-Mart. 

The years Reiche spent working with Carter Mason, owner of Plaza Pharmacy in Franklin, made him want to own his own pharmacy one day. But when Mason died, Reiche went to work for Kerr Drug and soon realized the corporate setting was not for him. 

That led him to start his own business — Jacob’s Pharmacist Services — in 2010. He traveled from Black Mountain to Murphy and everywhere in between to relieve independent pharmacists while they took some time off — sometimes it was for a day and sometimes it was for a week. That job gave him insight into what he needed to do to have a successful, independent pharmacy.

“That helped me gain a lot of experience in how to run and own my own business,” Reiche said. 

He spent two years developing a business plan before finally opening Smart Pharmacy in September 2013. Reiche said he wanted to do what he loved while also providing a much-needed service in downtown Franklin. Smart Pharmacy allows clients to make an appointment with the pharmacist, provides a delivery service and does specialty compounding. 

“Franklin needed another independent pharmacy since Carter passed away,” he said. “Personalized customer service is the main difference between a corporate pharmacy and one that’s independently owned. You actually get to speak to a pharmacist here and I know my customers when they walk through the door.”

Owning your own business is hard work, but now it’s hard work that Reiche enjoys doing because it’s something he built from the ground up. Smart Pharmacy has eight employees, including Reiche.

“When you have a new business, you work every day, all day,” he said. 

Reiche has worked hard to market his business through advertising and by being an active part of the community. Word of mouth has really worked well for recruiting new customers. 

“Great customer service is what it all boils down to — you’ve got to get your name out there,” he said. “I think the business is coming along well and I’m happy with the progress.”

Reiche was chosen for the Entrepreneur of the Year award out of 11 nominees and is proud of his accomplishment. The Macon County Certified Entrepreneurial Community leadership team selected the finalists who were announced at the April 28 Entrepreneur Networking Night held at the Bowery in downtown Franklin. Reiche was named the winner at the BizWeek 2015 Banquet last week.



The nominees

Four finalists for the 2015 Macon County BizWeek Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award

• Tim Crabtree – Motor Company Grill

• Joe Deal – Deal Family Farms Inc.

• Brett Murphy – Arrowood Construction

• Jacob Reiche – Smart Pharmacy

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