Getting to know Yogin Patel of Baywood Pharmacy.

200 yards from the world-famous Portobello Market in London’s Notting Hill sits the stylish, and welcoming, Baywood Pharmacy. Established by Yogin Patel 38 years ago, it occupies a special place in the heart of all residents – famous and non-famous alike. “Whether a household name who’s been on TV the night before, or a complete stranger, walks through our door we treat everyone the same,” says Yogin. “And that treatment has to be of the highest quality at all times.”

Style and substance

Alongside his core dispensing service, Yogin has a brisk retail business and is passionate about creating the optimal retail experience. He explains, “We are in a very affluent, fashionable area; so our pharmacy is a world away from a typical suburban chemist. Our interior boasts impressive shelving and display units made from glass and wood. We stock high end French and German skincare brands, such as Caudalie, Avenne, Guerlain, and La Roche Posay, niche brands which are trending, and many other premium items such as specialist shampoos. I keep the store windows clear in order to celebrate what’s in store. And we pay great attention to the merchandise, ensuring link sales through displaying related products together. As I always say, ‘Your shop is your display.’”

Yogin’s team meet the demands of their local demographic by running a busy Travel Clinic, offering the full array of vaccinations, plus Patient Group Directions, including Strep A testing and Erectile Dysfunction. And his PCR testing service is incredibly busy. “All in all, we offer the services and the retail experience which people really like,” says Yogin. “I’m proud to say we are highly popular, with a very loyal customer base.”

Trust above all

“Trust is more important than anything else,” he continues. “You need to make people feel secure and confident in you. We make time to properly attend to people, whether that’s in the consultation room or in a specially created area on the counter, which has a screen for privacy.” He continues, “So if I’m talking through a new medication with a customer, I will be checking if he or she understands what to do, whether they look concerned. We have close links with several local GPs and can liaise with them over patients in common. This is the kind of one-to-one experience which no online outfit will ever be able to provide. And this is what lies at the heart of pharmacy. You build up a following and the people I saw as kids are now adults with their own kids. We are incredibly close to our community.”

Excellence at large

Yogin relishes the bright future he faces with Alitam. “It’s about disseminating ideas, learning from each other. Creating a much more efficient working environment through sharing the back office jobs and implementing time and cost-saving technology, meaning there’s more that can be done remotely. And all the benefits of being part of a big brand are available while keeping our own core, community pharmacy identity. It’s genius.”

He smiles, “I’m really enthusiastic about stocking Alitam own-label items, and creating a loyal customer following behind these. Not to mention a really slick online presence, which will enable us to lead the way in pharmacy e-commerce. I’m talking to the Alitam board about introducing a comprehensive instore testing service. If customers can walk in, get their blood tests done and receive results within 24 hours, this will revolutionise a whole area of our current healthcare model. As pharmacists, we are in the perfect position to occupy this territory and give customers an efficient, trusted testing service.”

Feisal Nahaboo, Alitam founder says, “Yogin is showcasing a premium, ‘French-style’ pharmacy experience and, in doing so, exemplifies how community pharmacies evolve to meet the unique needs of their community. Not only is he a respected and highly experienced pharmacist, he’s also a formidable businessman with a keen eye for untapped markets and retail trends. With Alitam he’s building on his firm community foundations and helping lead the way for pharmacy. We’re all inspired by his track record and keen to learn from his wisdom. He’s a real gem.”