After leaving CVS, the largest U.S. pharmacy chain, with his brother and sister to start a pharmacy chain with their father based in Miami, Florida, Endeavor Entrepreneur Amjad Aryan had what he calls a “crazy idea.” While the chain was succeeding in Florida and the U.S., there was a bigger opportunity to differentiate the business and make an impact in the Middle East and his native Jordan.
In a video profile on Wamda.com, Amjad explains this decision, as well as many others that helped him grow Pharmacy 1 into “the CVS of the Middle East.” Amjad and the Pharmacy 1 team opened the pilot store in Amman in 2001, and began testing their value proposition in Jordan. Do Middle Eastern customers value good pharmaceutical care over the convenience of the nearest pharmacy? Do customers want to browse on their own, or depend on the pharmacist for direction and advice?
After two years of business operations and customer testing yielded positive results, Amjad moved his family to Jordan. Since then, Pharmacy 1 has focused on consistency and quality of customer service, including home delivery of medications. Amjad shares that even he has made late night customer deliveries!
Finally, Amjad addresses Pharmacy 1’s two biggest challenges during the company’s early expansion efforts: naysayers and industry regulators. To overcome the first, Amjad says he focused on his work and shut his ears to detractors. Resistance from industry regulators was a bit more difficult to overcome. “We were really fought viciously [by the Jordanian Pharmaceutical Association], thinking that we are going to destroy the small pharmacies,” Amjad said. “I’m very proud to say that with 47 pharmacies, not a single pharmacy closed or shut down in Jordan because of Pharmacy 1.”