Three years ago, a young man who was just released from the hospital after a life-threatening 10-day bout with severe salmonella poisoning was told by a large-chain pharmacy that he would have to wait at least two days for his Cipro prescription because the store was out of stock. And a mother, whose 4-year-old daughter was sick with a high fever from a bad strep infection, was told she’d have to wait more than 24 hours for her toddler’s antibiotic at the same pharmacy because they were just too busy to help her little girl! Unfortunately, these scenarios are still all too real for many people who have had to deal with those large chain pharmacies that just don’t seem to care about their customers. But someone was determined to change all that and he has!
Former Ridgewood resident Joseph LaSala, Pharm.D., has kept that promise and more as he recently celebrated the third anniversary of AJ’s Village Chemist on Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village.
Joe started out stocking shelves in a chain pharmacy as a young man where he saw the problems that patients faced in filling their prescriptions. He was instantly smitten with the idea of someday opening his own pharmacy where he would provide better customer service and professional advice to his customers. Sure of his destiny as a future chemist, he enrolled in the doctor of pharmacy program at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus and then went on to gain valuable experience as a seven years at Walgreens where he was promoted and served as managing pharmacist for three more years.
Often, LaSala felt he could provide much better customer service to his customers if he had his own pharmacy. He vowed he would never make his customers wait days and hours for drugs they needed to get well. He would pick up the phone when they called, and professionally and compassionately answer their questions or concerns. He would finally be able to have professional one-on-one contact with his customers — the kind of contact that is usually not possible at a large chain pharmacy.
Today, as Joe promised at his grand opening three years ago, AJ’s Village Chemist is providing the kind of old-fashioned service that is nonexistent at most pharmacies. Nothing matters more to him than his customers and their needs.
At AJ’s Village Chemist, answers to questions or concerns are only a phone call away and an actual live person will answer the phone and speak with you in English or Italian. Or, if customers decide to just stop in with their vials, they will find LaSala hard at work behind the counter, ready to offer professional prescription drug counseling, outstanding customer service and genuine concern for their health and welfare.
In addition to prescription drugs, the pharmacy offers great values on a large array of health and beauty aids, surgical supplies, cosmetics and everyday household products. But the main things that makes this pharmacy so unique are the true while-you-wait (and the wait is minimal) prescription service as you relax and watch TV, free delivery and the unique curbside prescription drop-off service. Just call and pull up to the store — someone will come out to take your prescription from you and deliver it to your home within an hour!
AJ’s also provides fax and copy services and $10 off any newly-transferred prescription. Got any questions? Joe LaSala has your answers. Just ask him. He’s always there for you.
AJ’s Village Chemist is located at 74-05 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village. For more information, call (718) 894-9000.