Cridge Family Pharmacy co-owners Debbie Cridge and son and pharmacist Jason Cridge greet customers with smiles at their new store in the Yarrow Building on Fort Street in Victoria.

BUSINESS BEAT: Pharmacy family’s Victoria roots go way back

Pharmacist Jason Cridge, descended from Victoria pioneer Bishop Edward Cridge, hangs out his shingle on Fort Street

You won’t find small kitchen appliances, a photo-finishing department or hardware in the new Cridge Family Pharmacy.

Pharmacist Jason Cridge is more interested in patient care than boosting revenue with products he knows little about – like vacuum cleaners.

“We’re definitely going back to basics in terms of pharmacy service,” he says. “Our dispensary is closer to the front of the store. Right when a patient walks in the door we can talk to them.”

Cridge, who graduated with his pharmacist’s ticket in 2012 and worked at a few pharmacies to get his feet wet, opened the outlet in the historic Yarrow Building as a family business with his parents, Mike and Debbie, on Aug. 1 next to the longtime former site of McGill and Orme Pharmacy. (McGill and Orme became the Rexall store now on Douglas Street across from the Strathcona Hotel)

The narrow 2,200-square-foot space isn’t adorned with loss leader general merchandise deals on the ends of aisles, retailing commonly practised by larger drug stores. The rows of shelves are laid out in orderly, uncrowded fashion with products easily reachable for customers.

And if they have questions, Cridge is happy to help.

“We spend a lot of time doing medical reviews, and working with patients’ personal histories,” he says.

Often people don’t get enough time in their doctor’s’ office to absorb the implications or side effects of their prescribed medications, he says. But provincial guidelines now pay pharmacists to spend more time with clients, a point he says customers appreciate.

If the Cridge name sounds familiar, it should.

Jason is the great-great-great grandson of Bishop Edward Cridge, the one-time reverend at Christ Church Cathedral who broke away and started the Church of Our Lord in the 1860s. He was also instrumental in getting a city hospital going and starting a group that would ultimately become the Cridge Centre for the Family.

“It’s definitely something to be proud of,” Cridge says.

Debbie Cridge, working the counter on this day, points out that someone from Church of Our Lord recently dropped by with an original bible belonging to Bishop Cridge.

“It’s kind of exciting and kind of special for the family to have a part in Victoria after all these years,” she says.

The pharmacy benefitted early from tourist traffic, Jason says. But among local customers, the pharmacy’s compounding services – medications are tailor-made for patients unable to take commercially produced drugs – have proven popular.

Eventually, the Cridges hope to evolve into a “naturopathic-type” store that can offer medical information on natural medications.

For more information, visit cridgefamilypharmacy.com, stop by 641 Fort St. or call 250-686-7104.

To submit your business news, send an email to ddescoteau@vicnews.com.

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