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A Shared Vision

Updated: Nov 28, 2023


By Mary Carpenter • Photos by Jessica McCafferty

Jean Kovaric and Garry Moore met when they were students at Albany College of Pharmacy. She was from Schenectady; he was from Plattsburgh. The two married not long after graduation and chose to make their home in the North Country. Their first jobs were part time at CVPH Medical Center and Condo Pharmacy, a small operation that had been in business in Plattsburgh since the 1940’s

As the years passed, the couple welcomed two sons, Steven and David. When Condo’s was offered for sale in 1993, they jumped at the chance. While the purchase was the right decision at the right time, it came with problems – an old building, little parking and no room to grow. But despite the issues, the Moores were can-do people. In 2003 they bought the property next door, demolished its building and constructed a state-of-the-art facility. The next step was to take down the original pharmacy building and convert the land to parking.

Life was good for Jean and Gary. The pharmacy was growing. Both their sons were adults and in pharmacy school. And then the unthinkable happened. Gary died unexpectedly. The news was devastating, but the family rallied. Jean continued on in her role as the business’ Supervising Pharmacist (a position she holds today). Dave, who was in his second year at Albany College of Pharmacy, left school and came home. (He eventually resumed his education, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Bio-Chemistry from SUNY Plattsburgh.) Steve, who had just graduated from Pharmacy School at Rutgers University, left an MBA program to return home to the family business.

Coping With COVID

Now, decades later, SB was eager to learn more about Condo’s and the Moores. To do so I sat down with Steve and Dave recently. We began our conversation talking about the impact COVID had on their operation and what they learned from it.

“When non-essential businesses were ordered to shut down in March of 2020, it fell to those of us who were left to meet the needs,” Steve began. “But like all health care providers, we weren’t ready for a crisis of the magnitude of COVID. But we stepped up. Through a pilot project with the Governor, Condo Pharmacy was one of 50 independent pharmacies selected to start COVID testing at a time pharmacies hadn’t been allowed to provide services such as outpatient COVID PCR tests. To do that, we had to change how we did business. It meant scheduling appointments and moving people in and out of our building without them coming in contact with each other. It was a time of great stress for everyone, and people were often not at their best. We needed to be respectful of what they were going through and help them as best we could. There was so much fear and uncertainty, we took it upon ourselves to become educators. We believed the more information people had, the better they would cope.”

Federal anti-trust laws often prevent competitor pharmacies from sharing information, but COVID forced everyone to reevaluate their practices and figure out how they could come together to meet the needs of their communities during the pandemic. “We began to share data and best practices with other pharmacies and colleagues which went a long way toward helping our patients,” Steve offered.

Other pre COVID restrictions limited patients to a 30-day supply of their prescriptions, but during the pandemic that number tripled. While that increase benefited patients, it created problems for small pharmacies like Condo’s that had limited storage space. “Where were we going to store triple our medication inventories as well as triple the number of pill bottles, containers, cleaning supplies, boxes, bags, and more that we needed to have?” Dave asked. But once again the family found a way to meet the needs. “We’d always said our parents over engineered the HVAC system in this building,” Dave continued,” but when we found ourselves utilizing every square inch of it, we realized their foresight was paying off.”

While they worked to take care of COVID patients, the Moores were concerned that special COVID efforts would have a negative impact on the rest of their business. “But we were wrong,” Dave explained. “Rather than reduce our prescription numbers, our counts actually increased. And we met a lot of great people who have become patients and friends.”

The impact of the pandemic on the Moores can best be measured by looking at the work schedule they kept for more than two years. “We didn’t have a life outside the business,” Steve said. “We worked six days a week caring for patients and then shut our door on Sundays to clean, restock and regroup.”

Meeting the Needs

With the worst of the pandemic behind us, SB was eager to learn about the Condo Pharmacy of today. The Moores are proud to be known as the oldest pharmacy in the North Country and the only independent pharmacy in the city of Plattsburgh. Current services include regular prescription fulfillment, annual wellness visits, chronic care management, transition of care services, pharmaceutical benefits consulting, and point of care testing. It is the only pharmacy in the area with a compounding lab, which provides a service that Steve called, “Back to the Future” technology. Curious about compounding? Check out our sidebar.

As a leader in new technologies, Condo’s recently purchased a second robot which will free up its staff for other, more important tasks. This new machine will create presorted pouch packages of prescriptions and vitamins in order to offer a new level of service, convenience and protection for patients.

Family Together

As our interview wound down, I asked the brothers about their professional and personal relationship. The look and the smile they exchanged before answering, said it all. “We grew up in this business and we share the same vision.” Steve explained. “It was always in the cards that we would work together.”

“I wouldn’t want to do this without Steve,” Dave emphasized. “We are a team and we are incredibly proud of what we have accomplished by working together.”

The tight knit partnership between the brothers has allowed Steve to serve as the public face of the company in such roles as past president of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York (PSSNY), as vice president of the National Pharmaceutical Association and as board member of EPIC Pharmacies. “Dave’s support is vital for me to be able to participate in these organizations that strengthen our industry,” Steve emphasized.

They concluded, “We enjoy the field. A pharmacy may not be the easiest place to make a living, but it is right for us. We are an integral part of the community. Our job is to deliver the right drug to the right patient at the right time and we do it well.”

SIDEBAR: Compounding is a practice in which a licensed pharmacist combines, mixes or alters ingredients of a drug to create a medication tailored to the needs of an individual patient. Historically, compounding was an integral part of the pharmaceutical process. In the early 1900’s the majority of all medications were the result of compounding, but it fell out of favor when standardized manufacturing of drugs took over. Today compounding is experiencing a resurgence for pain management, pediatric dosage tailoring, veterinary medications, and more.

Condo Pharmacy

28 Montcalm Avenue

Plattsburgh, NY 12901

518 563-3400

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