A Homegrown Kid:

Local Pharmacist Returns Where It All Began

A first job for most is memorable, though typically mundane. The goal is to pick up some work skills, maybe even a little life experience while putting a few dollars in your pocket.

Ryan Garner fit that mold. He started working at 15 as a part-time cashier at Quality Care Pharmacy in Seven Lakes. He’d return for regular shifts throughout his three years at Wingate College.

“Weekends, summers, Thanksgiving. Anytime I had a break, I was back home working,” he said.

In 2016, he was selected to join the inaugural class at the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy at High Point University. Garner finished up his studies this past spring and, more recently, completed his pharmacy board exams.

The one thing the newly registered pharmacist didn’t need to do was find a job: He already had one that he loved.

“It’s been great to connect with the community. To connect with the regular customers has been really nice,” Garner said. “You feel like you’ve picked the right job when you enjoy and look forward to going to work.”

Tamela Joyce, who established the small family-owned pharmacy with her husband and brother-in-law, Jason and Vann, in 2007, said she is proud and thankful that Garner decided to return as a full-fledged member of the Quality Care family.

“Ryan was one of the first teens we hired. You are treading in new waters when you hire a high-schooler. We are retail, but a pharmacy is a little different. The cashier is the first person our customers see,” said Joyce. “But over the years we’ve been really proud of the high-schoolers we’ve had. Working here gives them a chance to step up to the plate. To show them what they are capable of doing.”

In fact, Quality Care is nurturing another up-and-coming pharmacist in Lauren Blakely, who first joined the team as a cashier, then was promoted to pharmacy technician, and is now applying to pharmacy school.

“If people have the chance, they like the one-on-one service that a small business like ours can give them. There is a personal feel of knowing each customer and their prescription profile,” said Joyce.

Garner said the small town atmosphere of helping his neighbors is what drew him into the profession.

“My mom used to joke and say I’d be a good lawyer because I could argue. But what I like about my work is the community aspect. Seeing the same customers once a week or every month,” he said. “I find that people appreciate the small things you do. I have the opportunity to do that here where I can make a bigger impact.

“I guess I’m just a homegrown kid.”

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