Introducing Jai and Alpa Parmar of Churchill Pharmacy, London

Experienced pharmacists Jai and Alpa Parmar have created a haven for their well-heeled clientele in the affluent West London area of Chiswick. Sourcing the latest high-end skincare and beauty products from around the world, and delivering an extremely high standard of service, they are the destination pharmacy for miles around. Customers’ praise is glowing: “They go out of their way to help patients,” says one. “I used to live close to this pharmacy, however, after having moved some distance away, I happily pass several other pharmacies to continue using this one on a regular basis,” says another. Jai smiles, “We move heaven and earth to help, so that we never have to say ‘no’ to a customer.”

Family-run and friendly

“Our unique selling point is that we’re a friendly, family-run business,” explains Jai. “We’ve been part of this close-knit community for 20 years, with 12 dedicated staff (four of whom are family members) and there’s a great partnership between me and Alpa.”

Says Alpa, “I’m a pharmacist, but take care of the beauty retail aspect of the business, while Jai attends to the dispensing side. It means we can perfectly meet the needs of our particular community, which features many actors, celebrities and wealthy professionals. Their lifestyles demand certain products, so as soon as something is requested, I source it.”

Solid reputation

The attention to customer service is evident. “Our reputation is solid,” continues Jai. “Every member of staff is carefully recruited; we need them to be friendly and talkative. We also run a Mystery Shopper exercise every three months, so we can gauge how well we compare with other pharmacies. We always help people, for instance we deliver up to 9 miles away and often visit our dementia patients to ensure they’re taking their medication. We literally go out of our way to help our vulnerable customers. Without our customers we wouldn’t be here, so we have to be on top of our game.”

The Parmars offer most of the NHS services in store, including a rarely featured drink awareness service. “We can spot emerging patterns of alcohol dependence,” says Jai, “and directly refer people to specialist partners if required.” The selection of private clinical services also reflects the unique demands of the neighbourhood. “We run blood tests for tired people,” explains Jai. “We check Vitamin D, thyroxin and iron levels to find the root cause. This is a very valuable service for those who don’t have time to visit a GP, and it offers quick results. Our Travel Clinic is busy during normal times, plus we offer a Cardiac Check, Diabetes and Weight Management service among others.” And, in response to the pandemic, the Parmars were quick to offer the gamut of Covid-19 testing services, comprising PCR, antigen and antibody tests.

On top of the trends

“When it comes to our beauty offering, we have to be on top of the latest trends,” says Alpa. “I always keep my ears to the ground, and if a customer asks for a product, I stock the entire range. We were one of the first to feature Avene, and were directly trained by the French company representatives. Similarly with Nuxe. Currently we have brands such as REN, Caudalie, Dr Hauschka and Neals Yard in store and often we are given exclusive rights to stock products. Our baby care section is one of the largest in West London; at one point we were exclusively importing a particular product from Germany. We offer a highly specialised range of men’s grooming products too, and an extensive vitamin and toiletries section.” Alpa smiles, “The counter is extremely busy.” Something the couple are keen to revive once restrictions ease is their beauty clinic. “Our ‘mini spa’ and skin facials were so popular,” says Alpa. “And, by using the skills of the brand reps, it helps build stronger relationships with these brands. So it’s easier to find what the customer wants, and make sure they never have to go without.”

‘Insight and strength’

With their sights firmly set on a future with Alitam, the Parmars couldn’t be more enthusiastic. “There’s so much we can do now,” says Jai. “With such an immensely talented management team, and inspiring members, we can fully explore all the options available. We can provide more services to our customers and implement laboursaving technology at last.” Alpa continues, “It’s amazing to have access to so many fresh ideas and perspectives on pharmacy. Our online presence can really be boosted and we can look ahead to beat the competition. All the while working collaboratively with other brilliant minds. We’re keeping our independent approach, based on our unique customer base, but bringing all the insight and strength of Alitam into play. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Feisal Nahaboo, Alitam founder, adds, “No one pharmacy is the same, and the beauty of the Alitam model is that it allows talented pharmacists like the Parmars to capitalise on what they do best. Bringing their business firmly into the future, and enlightening us all in the process. Jai and Alpa have specialist knowledge regarding health and beauty retail, and they’re already sharing their hard-won wisdom with the group. Their well-served customers are about to become even more satisfied as the Churchill Pharmacy goes from strength to strength.”