Pharmacy opening in Liberty Hill
By Christine Bolaños
Liberty Hill residents will soon have their very own hometown pharmacy when Liberty Hill Pharmacy and Compounding Center opens this summer. The locally-owned and independent pharmacy will be 1,850 square feet and is located at 13740 W. State Hwy. 29, Ste. 4. It is slated for a July 20 soft opening.
“It seemed like a really good opportunity not only for us but also for the town,” explained owner Whitney Brace.
“We were just considering purchasing the existing pharmacy around the time M&L (Pharmacy) closed down. At that point we were like, ‘Oh, this might be a town for it,” said her husband and co-owner Conor Brace. “We had the opportunity right as that was happening. We kept looking at Liberty Hill because we liked it.”
According to the Braces, Liberty Hill will be getting its new pharmacy about one-and-a-half years after the old one closed.
Though the Leander-based couple considered other neighboring cities for establishing their pharmacy, Liberty Hill proved the right fit. They would like to move and settle into the Liberty Hill area as well. The shop will be a one-stop location for all pharmacy needs.
“We’ll do your standard prescriptions, antibiotics, heart medication, that type of thing. However, we’ll also be doing compounding — that’s where we actually make the medications here on site,” Mrs. Brace said. “It’s very customized. Say I was filling a compound prescription for you — I’m making it for you and only you.”
In making customized prescriptions, Mrs. Brace takes into account factors such as allergies to medications, gluten-free needs, sensitivities to dyes and colors, hormones, specific flavors or non-flavors targeted at children.
“It’s really customized to you individually rather than the (pre-manufactured) medication,” she added. “We will also have a small selection of medical supplies, medical equipment, crutches, skin care, that kind of thing. Then general over-the-counter Tylenol, cough syrup, that kind of thing — pretty much everything.”
She also plans to offer a small selection of greeting cards for purchase.
Conor Brace said he is “just the supporter” of Mrs. Brace’s effort, but it is his wife who is running the business.
“I will be the pharmacist day to day. I will be in the pharmacy all the time. As we expand and grow I hope to hire staff — a technician, customer service reps, that kind of thing. He (Mr. Brace) will be helping out. I call him my IT department,” she said.
Mrs. Brace began her career in pharmacy in high school and has never looked back.
“I started working in pharmacy at a little store in San Marcos when I was a senior in high school. My mom was friends with the owner so I came home one day: ‘Oh, by the way, Charles needs help at the pharmacy. I told him you could start next week,’” Mrs. Brace remembers her mother telling her. “That’s how I got my first job in pharmacy.”
She became interested in independent pharmacy at that point.
“What I really like about that form of pharmacy versus a chain or even a supermarket pharmacy is the individualized attention that I can pay to my patients,” Mrs. Brace explained. “I enjoy that I really get to know my patients. They get to know me.”
This gives customers the opportunity to familiarize themselves with Mrs. Brace rather than be subjected to constantly rotating staff.
“To where I have time to sit down with somebody, however many medications they have and do that. Whereas if I were working at a big chain pharmacy that’s really hard to do,” she said. “It’s a little bit slower paced. It’s really, really focused on the patient. We’re able to do whatever we need to do to make sure that the patient is taken care of even if it takes us a little bit longer or we jump through hula hoops to do so. That’s really the focus of independent pharmacy.”
The Braces hail from Buda and both attended the University of Texas at Austin. While there, Mrs. Brace attained both her undergraduate degree and attended the university’s pharmacy school. She graduated with a doctorate of pharmacy degree in 2011 and has been working as a licensed pharmacist ever since.
She worked at independent pharmacies in the Austin area and before then worked as a pharmacy technician beginning in 2001.
“So I’ve been in pharmacy for roughly 15 years now,” she said. The Braces look forward to establishing themselves as part of the Liberty Hill community. Mrs. Brace hopes the pharmacy will fill a need in the community.
“I think that everybody needs a pharmacy they can trust. That’s in a convenient place for them. Ideally in the same town they live in which I think is a need that was unmet here in Liberty Hill,” she said. “M&L Pharmacy satisfied that need for quite a long time from what I’ve gotten in talking to various members of the community. When they did close and everybody had to go to Leander or Cedar Park or Georgetown, the need for a local pharmacy that really knows you and knows your family really went unmet.”
For updates on the pharmacy, visit LibertyHillPharmacy.com, like on Facebook at /LibertyHillPharmacy and follow on Twitter at @LibertyHillRX.
“We personally are really excited to become a part of the community,” Mrs. Brace reiterated. “Not even just as business owners but just really being a part of the community as individuals also. I look forward to getting to know people as they come in and I hope that they’re able to get to know us as well.”
“It kind of reminds us of where we grew up a little bit,” Mr. Brace added. “We’re looking to have a mom and pop shop over the next 50 years. We’re pretty young and we would like to retire here if it goes well.”