Ogemaw Pharmacy Jude & Alyssa
“Working with the Michigan SBDC allowed us to formalize our plan and turn our business concept into reality.”

Ogemaw Pharmacy

2017

Business Launched

$420k

Business loan secured

Sales

Above Industry Average

20

Mile radius for complimentary home delivery

Initial Situation
Pharmacists Dr. Jude and Alyssa Fonguh knew how to manage a pharmacy, they’d been doing it for years as employees for a big box, retail pharmacy. After changes in management and news broke of the company being sold, the couple decided to start their own pharmacy. The first task at hand to make this happen was to seek guidance in the logistics of starting a business and managing a business of their own.
 
How the SBDC helped

After much research and networking with local agencies, the Fonguh’s were introduced to a Michigan SBDC business consultant. The consultant provided them with a business plan template that guided them in bringing their research together and focusing their attention. Together with their consultant, they prepared financial projections and formalized a plan that was ready to present to lenders, which included demographics and market research obtained by the SBDC. Their consultant also assisted them in preparing loan documents and meeting with lenders; as well as, setting up their accounting system using QuickBooks.

Success

With the support of the Michigan SBDC, they obtained a $420,000 business loan to purchase and renovate an existing building, and to launch Ogemaw Pharmacy in March 2017. The business created two new jobs and provided a new family-friendly pharmacy for the community. Within the first seven months of operations, the pharmacy saw sales above industry standards. The Ogemaw Pharmacy team is also heavily engaged in serving the needs of the rural community.

West Branch Medical Park
700 Columbus Avenue
West Branch, MI 48661

(989) 343-5300

Dr. Jude Fonguh was born with an entrepreneurial spirit. As a young child in Cameroon (Africa), he sold small bottles of kerosene to buy candy that he would then take to school and resell at a higher cost. As he got older, he started to write his business ideas and investment opportunities in what he calls his “little black book”.

In 2002, Jude received an opportunity to come to the United States (US) through the Diversity Immigrant Visa program. He was one of approximately 50,000 immigrants awarded a US Permanent Resident Card. Jude was just 21 years old when he landed in the states (Cincinnati, OH). He immediately went to work at a local factory and began taking classes to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and then a licensed practicing nurse. Soon, Jude realized nursing wasn’t for him. He returned to school and earned his Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) from the University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy.

As a pharmacist, Jude worked for a big box, retail pharmacy and quickly moved up the ladder to become a Pharmacy Manager. This position brought him to northern Michigan, where he met his wife – Dr. Alyssa (White) Fonguh, who is also a pharmacist. For several years, the two worked in corporate America and watched the big box pharmacies buy up small, independent pharmacies. Through each corporate take over the couple felt less satisfied and more frustrated with their jobs.

The couple enjoyed their work as pharmacist and decided in early 2016 to turn their compassion for serving others into self-employment. After much research, they drafted a rough business plan for opening an independent, retail pharmacy in northern Michigan. Through their connections with the West Branch Chamber of Commerce and local Michigan Works! office, they were introduced to a business consultant with the Michigan SBDC. The business consultant presented the Fonguh’s with a business plan template to help them organize the information they had gathered and to narrow down the specifics of what needed attention.

“Working with the Michigan SBDC allowed us to formalize our plan and turn our business concept into reality,”
said Dr. Jude Fonguh, Pharmacist and Co-Owner of Ogemaw Pharmacy. “Our SBDC consultant provided us
with key resources that helped us build a solid foundation and strong business team.”

In addition to business plan development, the Fonguh’s received valuable demographics and market research that allowed them to pinpoint the location for the pharmacy. They also received assistance in developing financial projections, preparing loan application documents, working with lenders, and setting up an accounting system using QuickBooks.

After securing a $420,000 business loan to purchase and renovate an existing building in the West Branch Medical Park, the Ogemaw Pharmacy opened for business in March 2017. With one full-time pharmacist and an assistant handling the day-to-day operations, the pharmacy quickly reached sales above industry standards. The team is very active in the community and works with a local medical clinic to ease the expense of prescriptions for low-income patients. They also provide two unique perks. If they don’t have what you need, they’ll drive down the road to get it and they offer their customers free delivery within a 20-mile radius of the pharmacy.

To learn more about Ogemaw Pharmacy, contact the pharmacy at (989) 343-5300.

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