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Springfield, MO

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Melody and Don Savley
Heather Mosley | SBJ
Melody and Don Savley

2022 Dynamic Dozen No. 9: Alps Pharmacy

Posted online

SBJ: What has been key to your recent growth?
Don Savley: We’ve been blessed with the right business plan. We grew out of community pharmacy, but about six years ago started to specialize in long-term care with a heavy psychological and addiction focus. We’re getting older, so long-term care and hospice business has continued to grow.

SBJ: What has the company’s growth enabled you to do?
Savley: It enabled us to get us into areas that we couldn’t previously. We’re expanding into compounding, functional medicine and clinical services more than we could before. It’s also allowed us to deliver more services and benefits to our employees. If you can’t do that, with COVID, you’re out in a field by yourself because staff is so hard to hire.

SBJ: What are your top issues when it comes to managing growth?
Savley: Capital and cash flow. In that growth cycle, growing that fast, we have to keep an eye on cash flow to sustain it. We’ve also got to stay focused on our services, our patient and customer service, so we don’t drop any of those things we have. While we’re focused on growing, we have to take care of those patients the way they want to be taken care of.

SBJ: Is your fast growth sustainable?
Savley: It is. There’s an ebb and flow because of the physical things we have to do – the construction of space will hold us back some. We can only do what we do well so fast. If we don’t have the space to do it well, we can’t expand into these new areas like compounding and nutritional stuff. You can’t snap your fingers and make it happen. We’ll have more of a surge next year than we did this year because of all the new development.

SBJ: Do you think there is such a thing as growing too fast?
Savley: Yes, I do. I haven’t hit it yet, but I do. We do get offers that we turn down because it’s just not the right timing for us. Same in long-term care. We actually hand deliver all over the state. It’s very organized, planned, streamlined and scaled. We do a lot of a hospice patients also. It’s 24/7 when someone starts crashing, you don’t want them to be in pain. We run deliveries in the middle of the night all the time.

SBJ: Where is the tipping point?
Savley: Our tipping point is capital and profitability. We make business decisions for other reasons, ethics for example. We’ve turned down big segments of business that we didn’t feel comfortable with; however, the tipping point is if the capital and profitability is not there and if it doesn’t fit our model, we can’t do it well, we just walk away from it.

SBJ: Have your goals changed as business has taken off?
Savley: They really haven’t changed in a general sense. We are looking at newer business segments that enhance our business. For example, we chose a few years ago to have our people trained as community health care workers. These six people work as pharmacy techs and they’re able to connect patients to other sources to help fill their needs. Maybe they can’t pay their utilities, or maybe they’re short on food.

SBJ: What is the best business advice you’ve received?
Savley: I heard a pastor say one of the best things a business owner can do is study the word of the book of Proverbs. It’s a lot of warnings. It’s a recipe for living a good life and not making bad decisions.

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