Since 1974, Poole’s Pharmacy has provided essential healthcare services and treated its patients like family.
By Cory Sekine-Pettite
Caring. Friendly. First-class operation. Wonderful. Finest pharmacy there is in metro Atlanta. Best pharmacy around. These are just a few of the customer comments one can find online about Poole’s Pharmacy in Marietta. Since 1974, Poole’s has been serving the community’s healthcare needs with a level of service that can’t be matched by the chain stores and a quality of care that has created a loyal customer base. We spoke with co-owner Thomas Sherrer, PharmD, about the pharmacy’s history and how it works to take care of Cobb.
Sherrer is a second-generation pharmacist and currently operates Poole’s Pharmacy with his mother, Sharon, though both of his pharmacist parents are semi-retired. And like his parents, Sherrer is a graduate of the Mercer University College of Pharmacy. He has held multiple committee positions with the Georgia Pharmacy Association and the National Community Pharmacist Association. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for CPESN Georgia (Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network) and the Georgia Pharmacy Foundation. Sherrer also is an active member of the Rotary Club of Marietta and serves as the Director of Service. Additionally, he is a board member for McKenna Farms Therapy Services.
Virtually all the services offered at Poole’s Pharmacy come from the needs of the community, Sherrer said. From the beginning, they never wanted to just be a dispensary. Thus, Poole’s helps patients with medication adherence and synchronization (helping people keep track of what to take and when, as well as refills), immunizations, travel vaccinations, and more.
Among the unique attributes of Poole’s is the fact that it is a compounding pharmacy. The traditional role of compounding pharmacies is to make drugs prescribed by doctors for specific patients with needs that can’t be met by commercially available drugs. For example, Sherrer says his company can mix pet medications; create unique dosage forms, say if a child can’t swallow tablets but tolerates medication in liquid form; and hormone replacement drugs often are produced through compounding pharmacies. “It’s all about making sure that if a patient needs a medication, we’re able to get that to them,” he said. “What good is a prescription if it’s written and you can’t take it?”
Poole’s Pharmacy History
According to Sherrer, Mr. Bob Poole opened Poole’s Pharmacy in 1974 in front of Kennestone Hospital on Cherry Street. Sherrer’s father, John, soon joined the business and in 1979 expanded to another location that was then known as Kenmar Pharmacy. Over the years, the company moved to a few sites, and after Mr. Poole passed away, the Sherrer family continued to operate the business and were granted permission by the family to continue with the Poole’s Pharmacy name. “One thing that’s always been kind of our [core] value is being a part of the community. And that’s something that Mr. Poole and my father started,” Sherrer said.
He added that even though the pharmacy has operated out of four different locations in Cobb since its inception, they still have many of their original patients. (They refer to their customers as patients.). “I think that’s a big testament to what we’ve done as a pharmacy and the customer service that we provided. But also, how our community looks at us as a vital part of the community.”
Stepping into the store, with its wood floors and antique medicine bottles on display, you might get a sense of nostalgia for a small-town drugstore that you visited in your youth. That’s by design, Sherrer said. “We wanted that warm, community feel of stepping back in time, of representing what the profession has always meant to people.” What’s more, he said that when patients step through the door, they will be treated like family. You’re not just a number or a prescription, Sherrer said.
Active in the Community
Having the opportunity to help people is one of the biggest rewards of his profession, Sherrer says. “People come in here with illnesses and chronic conditions, and we have the opportunity to be a part of their treatment team and help them improve.”
Moreover, being active in the communities they serve — and not just a business — has been a part of the Poole’s culture from day one. Among the many programs and offerings of support from the pharmacy are sponsorships of school sports teams and school bands; sponsoring arts programs; and providing flu vaccinations to schools, community centers, homebound people, and small businesses. Additionally, during the pandemic, Poole’s Pharmacy partnered with Marietta City Schools to provide COVID-19 vaccinations.
“Our community supports us; they keep our doors open. So, we want to do everything we can to support our community,” Sherrer said. “We know the value of what our community means to us, and we want to make sure that we take care of them.”
“The nice thing about being a small business is when there comes decision time, we don’t have to run it up a corporate ladder and then have it come back down,” Sherrer said. “We can pivot quickly.” A prime example would be during the height of the pandemic.
Pharmacies are an essential business, so Poole’s did remain open when much of the country was in lockdown. But that doesn’t mean that Sherrer’s business wasn’t affected or changed in any way. For example, he had plans for new clinical services that were put on the back burner, and with limited store hours and the need for social distancing before the vaccines were available, deliveries became the primary means by which Sherrer’s team helped their patients.
Poole’s also became a much-needed site for COVID-19 testing, Sherrer said, because hospitals and clinics were over-crowded, and many other testing sites — at least in the beginning — were hard to find or limited in number. So, that kind of offering eased patients’ minds, he said. “That’s made a big difference for people who might have a little bit more worry, or who have health conditions where they’re really worried about contact with people,” Sherrer said.
Committed to Independence
Despite many buyout offers over the years, the Sherrer family is committed to Poole’s remaining an independent pharmacy. And for Thomas, continuing his family’s legacy of serving the community and providing healthcare in under-served areas is vital. Recently, Sherrer opened a new pharmacy in Dallas, Georgia. Providing many of the services offered at Poole’s, the Dallas Prescription Shop at 537 Hardee Street will be a new independent pharmacy in the Dallas area.
Sherrer said that while most people may only see a doctor once a year, most see their pharmacist once a month. And particularly in some rural communities where hospitals are few and far between, pharmacies allow people greater access to healthcare. “We’re privileged to have these opportunities and to be an integral partner with our community,” Sherrer said.
660 Whitlock Ave., NW
Marietta, GA 30064