When Paul Gibbons took to the podium at the Delta Chamber of Commerce Hats off to Excellence Awards last November to accept the "Rising Star" award, it was a gratifying sign from the universe he had made the right career choice.
"It was a complete and utter shock," recalls the owner of the Medicine Shoppe, located next to Windsor Woods in Sunny Tsawwassen.
Eighteen years ago, Paul was already working within the health care sector, serving as an ambulance paramedic on Vancouver Island. Although he loved his job, he found in responding to calls that patients would be on a variety of medications. It being his job to know the effects and importance of how patients reacted to that medication, it fuelled within him a newfound curiosity.
"The burning question was why are they on this medication? What is it all for?"
Determined to find answers, Paul applied and was accepted to UBC as a mature student in School of Pharmaceutical Sciences. He has been a devoted pharmacist ever since, driven by a "deep-seeded desire to be of service" to people seeking information about the uses, effects and modes of prescription medication.
In 2014, Paul moved from Qualicum Beach with his wife Catherine (co-owner of the business), and two children, opening up a franchise location of The Medicine Shoppe in Tsawwassen a year later. They decided they wanted to start their business in the Lower Mainland but remain close enough to the Island to visit their family. Tsawwassen, with its convenient proximity to BC Ferries, was a perfect fit.
Since that time, Paul has dedicated himself to becoming the best service-oriented pharmacy in the area.
"I have all of the same medicines, the same over-the-counter stuff all the other pharmacies have," he explains. "But I tend to specialize more in spending the time that's required with clients."
Located in a high-density area comprised of seniors housing and assisted living, Paul says his clients require "extra care and attention". That was by design. Medicine Shoppe franchisees tend to set up closest to clients with the highest needs.
So, following his recognition by the business community, does Paul have bigger plans in the future?
"What, you mean like global domination? Um, no," says Paul, laughing. "The plan is to continue doing what we're doing by providing an unparalleled level of service to clients in South Delta.
"The clients that I have, the people that I've met here, the residents and business owners of Tsawwassen have all been extraordinarily nice people. They've been passionate about their businesses and serving their clientele and they really feel a strong connection to the community. I certainly feel that way."