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Connecting to Community Is Key to Growth A beach town pharmacy owner builds the vision for her pharmacy around her POS system. by Maggie Lockwood


n a chilly evening in December, the otherwise quiet shore town of Beach Haven, N.J., on Long Beach Island (LBI), was festive. People milled along the sidewalk outside Kapler’s Pharmacy, enjoying ice cream sodas from the pharmacy’s original soda fountain recipe, refreshments, and a spin around the block on a tram. The celebration is an annual one for Kapler’s, an after-hours pre-Christmas shopping and community-building event started by owner Samantha “Sam” Kelly. December 2011, though, marked the milestone anniversary of 65 years for the pharmacy, which under Kelly’s ownership has expanded its OTC offerings and now has a sister store, called regenerate, that features recycled and “green” products. Kapler’s POS system is one piece to Kelly’s business strategy, which takes into account not only the realities all independents face, but life in a small town with a largely seasonal clientele. “You have to be community oriented, and it’s more fun this way,” says Kelly. In a small town, this means finding ways to support local charities and stay on top of current trends. In a beach town, it also means capitalizing on summer sales and offering unique, personalized service that keeps customers calling and clicking through the pharmacy’s website during the off season. Kelly has embraced various technologies to help her stay connected at both the brick-and-mortar and cyber levels (to read more about Kelly’s cyber marketing and presence, see the cover story). 12


Celebrating a community institution: Neighbors gathered outside Kapler’s during the pharmacy’s 65th anniversary party in December.