Ten years ago this week, July 1st 2000, Canice Nicholas became the owner of the well known and established pharmacy on Bundoran Main Street, carrying on the long tradition from McGuinness's and McDonnells who were practicing pharmacists in the town for generations.
After just two years, Canice along with Ramona Wylie, who is also a pharmacist, set up the company Cara Pharmacy and purchased a pharmacy in the Donegal Town Supervalu Shopping Centre. Thus began the journey of Cara Pharmacy!
Canice and Ramona went on to grow and develop the Cara Pharmacy brand by purchasing a group of Pharmacies in Cavan and Leirim, formerly known as the Manor Group.
In 2007, they also purchased two more pharmacies, bringing the group to a total of nine stores over counties Donegal, Cavan, Leitrim and Sligo.
Bundoran is now Canice, Ramona and baby Alex’s home and in July 2005, they relocated their first store to a purpose-built building, which now houses the group’s flagship store, warehouse and head offices. Canice, Ramona and the Cara team have adapted their strategy over the years to make sure they were meeting the needs of all their customers - their no one priority. The company's mission is to provide excellence in customer care though investing in their staff and their facilities alike.
n Leading Healthcare Professionals
The Bundoran store provides a variety of service for all customers, there is a five star patient care service, and the Bundoran store prides themselves in being leaders in Pharmacy. Indeed it is clear to see that Cara are leading the way when it comes to the expanding role of the pharmacist. It offers free blood pressure checks to customers anytime, asthma and inhaler technique advice, minor ailments advice, first aid advice as well as monthly healthcare events on various topics.
“We are excited about our new healthcare events”, explains Canice. “Every month we focus on different areas and provide advice and services related to this. May saw our Health Heart Campaign with free blood pressure and cholesterol checks, June is 'Manage your Allergies Month', and we have loads more planned for the coming months. It is a great way of helping people to manage their conditions in a relaxed but professional environment.”
n Free Pill Pack Service
As well as the normal dispensing, Cara also offers a great free Pill Pack service, organising customer’s medicines into individual trays, making it much easier to take your medicines. It’s ideal for those taking many drugs or older people who need a helping hand. They also offer a prescription collection service, taking the hassle out of ordering prescriptions!
n Driving down Prices
Cara Pharmacy has long been associated with exceptional value on Fragrance, Cosmetics and Jewellery. In fact, most of their prices are unrivalled by any other pharmacy or retailer. Now, they are bringing this idea to their medicines as well. “In these times, everyone is looking for better value, whether that is the cost of every day toiletries or their medicines,” explains Ramona. “We have examined our pricing on medicines and have made some changes in recent times to allow us to do our upmost to provide as much value as possible,’’ she adds.
Ramona also commented that ‘’At Cara Pharmacy, we also want our customers to feel confident in the products that we sell and that we provide a variety of choice for everyone. With a large selection of leading brands in both fragrance and cosmetics, at discount prices, we hope we have something for everyone! We also like to introduce new fresh lines so that our customers can try something new, for example, we recently introduced a new Jewellery line called ‘NOUR’, which has been a huge hit with our customers. ‘’
n Huge Photographic Range
Recently, Cara has invested hugely in their photographic department, with a huge range of services and products which are second to none. What’s more is that they are officially the cheapest place in Ireland for digital processing, as recognised by one of Ireland's leading photographic retailers. Canvas prints, digital processing, key-rings, invitations.... are just some of the many services that they can offer. Aine is our photo specialist, always on hand for help and advice on your photographic needs. Also watch out for their Photo Competitions, just launched this year for all those talented, unrecognised photographers out there!
n Cara in the Community
Cara Pharmacy have also made huge efforts socially to give something back to the community by launching this year their extremely successful ‘Cara and the community Initiative’ which has raised over €10,000 to date for local charities and groups. Carole Murray, Group Manager, comments: ‘’This year, we felt it was important to dedicate some of our time into raising much needed funds for local communities. The success of our first event - Pancake Tuesday - was remarkable, and our strong presence in the north west has allowed us to reach out and help in this area. We plan to continue with these initiatives and we have also just launched our '’Cara Carer of the Year Award’ ,'which has had a huge response already.’’
n 10 year anniversary event and sale
Canice and Ramona explain their special affiliation and relationship with Bundoran: ‘’Bundoran is very special to us as its where we started out and set up home. We go to great lengths to make sure are meeting the needs of the local community and we really value any feedback we receive as it allows us to improve all the time.
"We decided to have a little party on this Friday 2nd to give something back to all our valued customers and their families. We have great plans for the day and we would love to see as many local faces as possible. Were hoping it will be fun filled family day out, in the friendly spirit that we hope Cara is known for. Everyone is welcome, so make sure and bring your family and friends!’’
We spoke to Claire Gallagher, manager of the Bundoran store, about their upcoming anniversary event: “The Bundoran and surrounding community is really important to us, and we want the local community to help us to celebrate our 10 year old birthday! We have a huge day planned, with Ocean FM broadcasting live, children’s activities, make-overs, refreshments, massive prizes and giveaways. It is going be a massive event, with an emphasis on the feel good factor! We are also having one of our now famous 20% off all stock and '3 for 2' on Yankee Candle sales.
"We really hope the people of Bundoran and all around can come and help us celebrate”! We’ve also been told that it is a date out for all the family, with face painting for kids, and even champagne breakfasts! The Democrat's very own columnist Gabrielle will also be there for the official cutting of the cake!"
From the plans we at the Donegal Democrat have heard, it is going to be a brilliant birthday party, where all the party guests are guaranteed a good time. We’ll be there, will you?
n Thank you from all at Cara
Canice, Ramona and the Cara Team would like to take this opportunity to thank all their customers for supporting them over the last 10 years. Cara Pharmacy would not be in existence today without you! They hope to be able to deliver a five star service to all Cara Bundoran customers for many years to come.