Manly pharmacy turns 40

From top, the recently re-branded Unichem Manly Pharmacy and how it looked in the 1980s.

There has been a chemist in Manly Village for 40 years, and in that time it has had just three owners.
Current owner, pharmacist Tania Adams, says this is because of its position right in the middle of a local shopping centre and the strong community support it has always enjoyed.

Tania remembers the day in December 2004 when she bought the pharmacy – mainly because it was just before she had her first baby. “It was such a rarity to see it come up for sale that I had to grab it, although the timing wasn’t ideal,” Tania says.

Barbara and Ian Eckford opened the chemist in Manly Village in 1977. At the time, it was adjacent to a garden centre and there was one part-time doctor upstairs in the building on the corner of Rawhiti Rd and Beach Road.

Barbara remembers a fire in a linen/gift store in 1979, which damaged their building – they moved the pharmacy onto its current site after repairs. In 1990/91 the Eckfords bought what had been a bookshop/stationer next door and knocked the hole in the wall between the two.

Grant Bai, now chief executive of Green Cross Health, bought the pharmacy in 1995 and sold it to Tania nine years later.

Tania has seen the village develop from having bookstores, shoe shops and interior design outlets, to become more of a service centre as well as having a lot of cafés and restaurants. “It’s the kind of place where you pop in on your way home,” she says.

Manly Medical Centre has grown substantially and with it the pharmacy, which opened a second outlet within the medical centre a few years ago. Tania says that the kinds of services that pharmacies offer have also changed.

When she bought it, photo services were a big portion of the business, taking in rolls of film and sending them off for processing. That eventually downsized to a photo booth and now even that is gone. Among the latest services are measuring INR levels for patients taking Warfarin, along with natural health options and the robotic pill dispenser known as Robbie.

“One thing that hasn’t changed is the great community around here,” Tania says. “We get to know lots of our customers over many years.”

Doesn’t look as though Unichem Manly will come up for sale again anytime soon.


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