Pharmacist Receives Loan Assistance to Keep Her Business Healthy
Health Matters Pharmacy of Hillsborough County
Dr. Vondalyn Crawford started Health Matters Pharmacy because she felt there was a void in East Tampa. Health Matters Pharmacy is the only pharmacy within a four-mile radius, and therefore, provides needed care and medication for locals.
The pharmacy offers multiple services including one-on-one patient care, delivery, over-the-counter medications, and transferring services to process prescriptions to other pharmacies if needed.
“I’m here to serve the community,” Crawford said. “I’ve been a pharmacist in the area for around 20 years.”
After being open for approximately three months, Crawford reached out to Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County business consultant Corey McCaster for financial assistance.
“One of the things that Corey helped me do…He sat down and figured out what my financial needs were and he helped me do a profit and loss and do a whole application with TD Bank in order to secure the financing,” Crawford said.
Before working with the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County, Crawford paid for consulting from other organizations and had been denied for a loan.
“I went to Carol at an event and went to work with Corey, and everything has turned around,” Crawford said. “Now I have the funding I need to keep my business going.”
Crawford was aware that many businesses fail in the first year due to financing issues. Thanks to the loan she received with the help of the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County, Health Matters Pharmacy was able to keep their doors open and continue providing needed services for the community.
“My biggest success so far is opening up,” Crawford said. “They’re just so grateful to have me in the neighborhood. Being able to help people that would otherwise not receive the medications that they need is rewarding.”
Moving forward, Crawford and McCaster will be working on marketing efforts for Health Matters Pharmacy. McCaster has already provided Crawford with helpful information to that end.
“I learned that marketing is a whole different ball game and I’m so anxious and happy to work with him because he has the resources,” Crawford said. “He’s very resourceful in knowing how to get to our [target] customer. One of the things I thought was that everybody was my customer, and he made me realize that ‘no, we need to be more targeted.’”
When speaking to her friends who are interested in opening their own business, Crawford recommends working with Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County, especially for those who are just starting out.
“If you go there when you want to start, they’ll help you through the business plan part,” Crawford started. “They’ll help you with the financial parts that you might not understand, and marketing is a big part that they’ll help you with. I’ll say to anybody who’s even thinking about opening a business…use those resources. It’s been one of the best things for my business.”