From farm girl to pharmacist

Labour of love . . . After nearly seven months of hard work, pharmacist Emily Stewart has opened Central Otago Pharmacy in Cromwell. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON

Cromwell woman Emily Stewart drew from her farmgirl roots when it came to turning the dream of her own pharmacy into reality.

A pharmacist of seven years, Mrs Stewart took a leap of faith in May, working towards opening a business of her own.

After months of hard work — both on the physical building and compliance requirements— she finally opened the doors to Central Otago Pharmacy on December 1.

‘‘There’s been a lot of work going on behind the scenes, all on top of a fulltime job as a pharmacist in Alexandra,’’ Mrs Stewart said.

‘‘We had some really great local tradies, and me and my family got stuck in ourselves doing whatever parts we could, painting etc.

‘‘Pretty much if there was a way to do something, I just did it — that farm-girl attitude of dig in and get it done.’’

Navigating the legal and compliance requirements was a learning curve but Mrs Stewart, with support from husband James, took it in her stride.

And while stocking a retail space on the back of Black Friday and Christmas sales was not without its challenges, people had been really supportive, she said.

‘‘[Response has] been really positive. We’ve had a lot of people come in and check us out.

‘‘People have been so kind as it took a bit for our retail to come in.’’

Cromwell was growing at ‘‘quite a rapid rate’’ and there was definitely a need for another pharmacy, she said.

Having previously worked in Nelson, Wellington and Alexandra, Mrs Stewart said she loved the sense of community that was fostered in a small town.

Her point of difference was her business was locally owned and operated.

‘‘People come in and we can have some laughs — that’s the nice part of being in a small town. You know people and you have a sense of belonging in the community.

‘‘I think it’s a real privilege to be a pharmacist — you are privy to people’s health journey. ‘‘If you don’t have health, you don’t have any real quality of life so it’s a privilege to be part of that.

‘‘I’m very passionate about people and helping them get the best health outcomes and that has been the biggest thing.’’

Central Otago Pharmacy is located across the car park from Cromwell Family Practice in McNulty Rd in Cromwell.