Ettenheim, Germany

A historic town, a modern pharmacy


Two employees are down, and coughing customers are queuing in the pharmacy. So there is no time to recover from the night shifts of the previous week. Serving customers takes priority.

31-year-old Felix Schulz would not have it any other way. He comes from a family of pharmacists who have worked in the profession for more than a century. His pharmacy, Marien Apotheke, is located in a half-timbered building in the old baroque part of Ettenheim, a small wine-growing town in the southwest of Germany, just across the Rhine from France. He took it over from his parents.

There are several pharmacies in Ettenheim. Felix Schulz has his regular customers, but many also like to shop around. Especially if they do not get what they need from him instantly. “So we have to do our best to keep a stock of everything people might be likely to ask for,” says Schulz.

Almost every day, customers come in and ask for a product with a name even a pharmacist hasn't heard yet.

Luckily he can rely on PHOENIX Pharmahandel. The wholesaler and its predecessor companies have supplied the family’s pharmacies for generations. “Always punctual and very reliable,” stresses Schulz. He receives deliveries three times a day. At night, the courier comes once again and places the ordered medication in a locked deposit box. This is vital for customers with chronic diseases or serious illnesses when they need to collect their medications the next morning. The frequent deliveries are also vital for the pharmacy’s business.

This is because customers no longer rely solely on the advice of the doctor or pharmacist when choosing a medicine. An increasing number of people also get information from friends, neighbours or the Internet, where they sometimes come across exotic remedies. “Almost every day, customers come in and ask for a product with a name even a pharmacist has not heard yet,” says Schulz.

When that happens, he just calls PHOENIX. His sales representative then identifies the product. “And it can usually be delivered a few hours later”, though it is naturally better if the customer can walk out of the store with the desired product immediately. With the resulting large number of products he stocks, the storeroom is a crowded place, and stock management is important. The three pharmacies owned by the family use systems by PHOENIX group’s subsidiary ADG to purchase, list and invoice products efficiently.

ADG provides pharmacy software and till systems. Schulz is particularly impressed by the “storage coach.” This software not only shows him what is available but also keeps track of the expiry dates. The system tells him when there is a package that is close to expiry.

Outside, the sun is shining, and the thermometer reads six degrees. Cold season will be over soon. Then Schulz will again have time for his hobby, skydiving. “It is the best way to clear my head.” And that is important – also when developing new sales channels. For example, he recently set up WhatsApp ordering for his customers. Originally planned as a test, it was a big hit. “The new service has been surprisingly well received.”

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