Cloverdale Pharmasave celebrates 30 years

Good medicine isn’t limited to dispensing prescriptions. Just ask Henry and Anna Cheng’s customers.

From the heart: a presentation to Henry and Anna Cheng

Good medicine isn’t limited to dispensing prescriptions. Just ask Henry and Anna Cheng’s customers.

Cloverdale’s award-winning Pharmasave Health Centre at 5778 176A Street celebrated 30 years of business on Saturday with an open house more reminiscent of a family gathering.

Dispensing hugs, good wishes, compliments and camaraderie, the Chengs, and their staff,  appeared to be on a first name basis with the never ending stream of customers.

Inside, assorted guest health professionals shared a wide range of practical advice.

Outside old-timers soaked up sunshine, swapped “I remember when” yarns, listened to the band, bought refreshments to support the SPCA, and waited for the big event – the head-shaving.

Pharmacists Lyle Sunada and Fred Cheng, and store manager Martin Leonard, had pledged to lose their locks (courtesy of Michaud’s hairstylists) if $2,000 was raised for the BC Cancer Foundation.

“I’m not losing hair, I’m gaining face,” Sunada joked as the buzzing began.  Fred Cheng noted his wife would miss running her fingers through his hair. Leonard settled for a grimace, while the crowd cheered their approval.

Dr. Henry Cheng is justifiably proud of his reputation. With international medical degrees, an extensive background in natural medicine, and specialized equine dispensing expertise, the pharmacy – once located on  Cloverdale’s main street – lures dedicated customers from around the Lower Mainland. It’s reputation is enviable.

Thanks to the internet, and client recommendations, Cheng says; “We serve the world.” With clients as far away as Kuwait, London, and Hong Kong, compounding orders are received by email, and filled by regular mail.

“I’m constantly being asked when I am going to open in Prince George – and many other places.”

[After the shave: newly-shorn Martin Leonard, left, Fred Cheng, and Lyle Sunada, with Anna and Henry Cheng. Photo by Ursula Maxwell-Lewis]

He chuckles, but admits he is handing some of the reins over to the younger generation.

Truly a family business, Cheng’s three children are already well-known to customers. Fred and Christine are pharmacists. Josephine handles marketing, PR and media. Son-in-law Martin Leonard is the store manager.

Although Cheng will remain at the helm as the senior business and technical advisor, he is clearly delighted that the second generation is capably relieving him of renovations and daily management decisions. Compounding rooms for sterile techniques are high on the agenda. This would allow for the development of house brands of eye drops, a range of other products, and generally expand their already extensive complementary integrated medicine base and lines for humans and animals.

Constantly increasing demand for specialized one-on-one meetings has also made more consulting rooms a key reno list issue.

Over the years the Chengs have received many community and service awards, including the prestigious Friends of Pharmacies Award presented to non-pharmacists in recognition of outstanding contributions in the field, a testament to a local family business that remains in good health, and in capable hands.

Video: Cloverdale Pharmasave Wellness Centre’s Henry Cheng, by Ursula Maxwell-Lewis

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