A new pharmacy on 2418 E. Stadium Blvd. celebrated its grand opening on Tuesday. Ann Arbor Pharmacy is an apothecary offering customers service using a European and Middle Eastern approach.
Manager Ziad Ghamraoui, who is Lebanese, said he wanted to change the way his neighbors and other members of the Ann Arbor community received both health and beauty supplies. After owning two pharmacies in the area, he decided to take a different approach to his new business endeavor.
“I wanted … my community to have access to high-end, organic products,” Ghamraoui said. “I didn’t want to carry the mainstream stuff, so decided to opt to carry high-quality products that you can’t find at a normal pharmacy.”
These products include soaps, herbal and homeopathic medication and high potency multivitamins. Ghamraoui said he was deliberate in the products that he chose to carry.
“Everything in the store is very well-curated,” Ghamraoui said. “We went through a very selective process and chose pretty much some of the best names out there that we believe the community can use and is to their best interest.”
Nursing sophomore Caroline Baubonis said the pharmacy was a creative take on self-care.
“Opening organic pharmacies in Ann Arbor expands the realm of medicine beyond the laboratory,” Baubonis said.
Ghamraoui said he aims to change the speed and efficiency in which customers receive their prescriptions.
“Usually it takes 15, 20, 30 minutes to get your prescriptions,” Ghamraoui said. “If you’ve been to the Middle East or Europe, you’re in and out in minutes. It shouldn't take hours to fill a prescription, so we are a pharmacy that has a professional staff that allows people to be in and out in seconds. We pride ourselves on this.”
Ghamraoui said while his staff is not comprised of physicians but they are knowledgeable about customer service and individualized patient care.
“Our staff went to school for health care and did services on dermatology,” Ghamraoui said. “We have a background. We may not be certified as physicians but we know about skin care and the pharmacists are the most accessible health care professionals.”
The design of the pharmacy mimics a European boutique and was created by Synecdoche Designs designer Lisa Sauve. Ghamraoui praised Sauve’s work.
“I told her this is what I want; this is what international pharmacies look like,” Ghamraoui said. “She did a good job on my vision.”
LSA sophomore Maxine Taskin stopped into the pharmacy to take a look. She said she thought the store was a good complement to the local business community.
“I think that this is a great addition to both the Ann Arbor and University of Michigan community,” Taskin said. “Many students have specific health or skin problems that they either have to order a variety of expensive products online to treat, or have to deal with alone and away from home. Having a resource to help not only provide high-end products but help diagnose specific issues is amazing.”
Ghamraoui said a lot of friends and local business owners attended a grand opening party, mediated by the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“We were offering discounts and lots of people bought lots of products at the grand opening sale price,” Ghamraoui said. “It was very humbling … My mom and dad happened to be in town and beat the storm (that night), so I was happy they were there. We brought some sweets from Lebanon and Syria and catered Lebanese food.”