LAKELAND, Fla. — When you walk into Lakeland’s Cleveland Heights Pharmacy, you’ll see a number of customers. Many of them have been getting prescriptions filled at the pharmacy for several years, like Vashti Goheen.
“Quite a few. The medicine is great and they do a good job. I can call in and they fill it and I can come the next day and pick it up,” said Goheen.
Pharmacists Sonia Patel and her husband Peter have owned the pharmacy for 15 years and said their customers have become more like family.
“We know our patients very closely. We know them by their name, we know what medications they're on, their underlying conditions,” said Sonia Patel, owner of Cleveland Heights Pharmacy.
So, when they learned many of their older patients were struggling to make online appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine, they stepped up. The Patel’s partnered with the Department of Health to offer the vaccine.
“We decided we were going to take in all walk-in patients. So, we hired a nurse so we were able to do this. It was a struggle at the beginning but we got it done. To date, we’ve vaccinated thousands of people,” Patel said.
Customers said they prefer coming to the mom-and-pop pharmacy over a big box store.
“From personal experience, I don’t get the same experience from big-name pharmacies,” Anthony Costantino said.
While COVID has kept the pharmacists busier than ever, Patel said the positive feedback makes it that much more rewarding.
“To see our customers happy and satisfied that we’ve done a good job and often they give us good praise and that gives us the strength to keep going on,” Patel said.