The Alabama Retail Association has named Ritch’s Pharmacy in Mountain Brook the Bronze Retailer of the Year in the Annual Sales More Than $5 Million category.
ARA representatives presented the award to Ralph and Rebecca Sorrell, pharmacists and co-owners of Rich’s, on Sept. 27.
Ritch’s Pharmacy is one of 11 retail businesses statewide, and the only pharmacy, honored as a Retailer of the Year, the ARA said in a statement.
“Ritch’s Pharmacy has been serving the people of our community since 1947, and to be named as one of the 2021 Retailer of the Year recipients is a tremendous honor,” a written statement by the Sorrells stated. “We have a good team at Ritch’s Pharmacy, and we can only do what we do because every member gives their all to serving others. Our team dispenses not only medications, but professional personal service that we strive to give to everyone who walks through our door.”
Ralph Sorrell began working as a pharmacist at Ritch’s Pharmacy in 1986. He and his wife have been co-owners since 1997. He served as president of the Alabama Board of Pharmacy in 2020 and as the at-large board member from 2016 through 2020. The Alabama Pharmacy Association inducted him into the Alabama Pharmacy Hall of Fame in 2020.
The association awarded Rebecca Sorrell its Bowl of Hygeia award in June for commitment to community and those most in need. She specializes in health screenings and immunizations.
The Retailer of the Year judges noted the extra lengths the pharmacy pursued to administer COVID-19 immunizations — extending hours and opening on Sundays during the initial push.
Though the pharmacy previously offered free home delivery, it doubled its delivery staff and added a vehicle in 2020. Having an already established app allowed the pharmacy to better manage the number of calls it received related to the virus and vaccinations.
“Ritch’s Pharmacy was one of only three community pharmacies in the state selected by the Alabama Department of Public Health to initially provide the COVID-19 vaccine,” the Retailer of the Year entry by the Sorrells stated.
That community pharmacy connection made a difference.
“So many patients told us that they were relieved by being able to talk with a health care provider as opposed to simply registering on a website,” Ralph Sorrell said.
In addition to administering the vaccine in store, the pharmacy in August arranged to offer vaccines at local restaurants for the convenience of the restaurants’ workers.
“Combined, Ritch’s Pharmacy’s pharmacists have over 100 years of experience and their friendly staff will treat you like family,” said Suzan Doidge, executive director of the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce, who nominated Ritch’s for the award.
In a letter of support for the business Tim Hamrick, CEO of American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc., said, “Ritch’s Pharmacy has established itself as the epitome of what a locally owned and operated business should be. Ritch’s knows their patients, their families and their health histories.”
– Submitted by Alabama Retail Association