Thanks, Dad!

Friday, May 17 2013 2:47 PM - by Brett Kappelmann

I love my job. I am so thankful that I am able to get up every morning and go to work at a truly special place. I get the pleasure of goingto work with a caring, compassionate staff and take care of the most wonderful customers that any pharmacy owner could ever ask for. In the spirit of the Thanksgiving season, there is one person in particular that I want to thank for giving me the opportunity to work in the place that I love. I am thankful that through my job I get to spend the first couple of hours of my day with my dad.and not just my dad, but my mentor and role model. Dad, now 81, does not mess with the computer anymore, but you can find him sitting at the prescription checkout counterbetween 9 and 11 with the same infectious smile and greeting that he possessed when he owned and operated the business and I was just a wild little kid riding wheelchairs up and down the aisles (which I have since given up) and stealing candy (which I still do). I get to see him interact with many of the same customers that were hiswhen he first took over the business back in 1956. That is special to me.

I have learned so much from Dad. Treat your customers no different than your closest friends. Listen to them. Go out of your way to help them whenever you can. Since becoming the owner in 2005, I try my best to be like my dad. I continually fall short, but I always strive to become better. Working next to Dad serves as a reminder to always strive to give the customers your best.

I am also thankful for the opportunity that I am in right now. As the only sibling that chose pharmacy as a career, I wasn't for sure if I could do the ownership-thing. It seemed pretty intimidating at first. My dad offered me a position at Cooper Drug when I graduated back in 2003. I remember thinking something to the effect of "this should be a nice little experiment." Ironically, I had never worked in an independent pharmacy before, only at a Walgreens and hospital pharmacy in Topeka during my pharmacy school days at KU. "I guess I can no longer race wheelchairs down the aisles anymore," I jokingly thought to myself. If I ever started dreaming with my wife, Bridget, at the possibilities of ownership, I would quickly become overwhelmed by the thoughts of all the time, energy, and money that it would take to revitalize Cooper Drug to allow sustainability for 50 more years. More than that, KU taught me to be a very good pharmacist, but not a thing about operating a business.

Well here I am eight years later. Bridget and I went through the time, energy, and funds it took to transform Cooper Drug into what it is today. I have fond memories and taking an evening accounting class through Butler County Community College with Bridget in order to get caught up with what I missed regarding business management at pharmacy school. The rest I have picked up from working with and learning from my dad. Today the store is what I had envisioned eight years before. We have a great staff, a beautifully renovated pharmacy, and unique services that make us like no other pharmacy around. I am so thankful that I get the privilege to be a part of it.

What convinced me to become only the third owner of Cooper Drug Store in its ninety year history? I am heretoday because of Dad. I observed how he treated his customers and how they treated him in return. I wanted to be a part of that. I will always strive to be like Dad who understands that it is relationships that make you want to get up and go to work each morning.I hope that one day I am worthy of being the same type role model to my sons that Dad has been to me. I hope that one day one of my four boys, ages 6, 3, 1, and -4 months(due in March), who are now wreaking havoc in my store as I once did in Dad's, will keep the legacy of Cooper Drug Store alive because of the realization that Cooper Drug is such a special place to work because of those same relationships. Thank you Dad for all that you have done for me. ..and thank you customers for being patient with me as I continually strive to be more like him.