New Halifax pharmacy ‘for anybody who feels as though they don’t fit in’

Boyd's Pharmasave to open on Agricola Street in Halifax

This story contains a correction

Greg Richard wants his new pharmacy to be a safe and welcoming place for everyone.

Richard is preparing to open his new business, Boyd’s Pharmasave, on Agricola Street in the new year. Renovations are underway at the former Smith’s Bakery.

“It was a dream of mine,” said the 27-year-old pharmacist from Miramichi, N.B.

Richard studied at Dalhousie University. After finishing his degree, he and his partner, Stephen, moved to Fredericton. They decided to return to Halifax so Richard could start his business.

Richard’s vision is to create a space free of discrimination and stigma. As a member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, this was particularly important to him. He wants his business to be “providing opportunities to learn about our differences and similarities and becoming a centre for anybody who feels as though they don’t fit in.”

Richard took a course through prideHealth and the Community-Based Research Centre to administer gender-affirming hormones. He said while working in Fredericton a client asked him to do it, but he wasn’t allowed to administer the shot. He felt like he was not able to fully help his clients.

Jennifer Lane, a licensed nurse working with prideHealth as a patient navigator, considers Richard’s plans a win for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.  She said often people don’t know where to get their prescription once they are ready to start transitioning.

“Doing something about access builds trust,” said Lane, “and a pharmacy like this, in my opinion, is exactly what that does — build trust.”

Greg Richard stands in front of what will be Boyd’s Pharmasave.   Kheira Morellon

Richard said he contacted Pharmasave in November 2019 about owning his own pharmacy in Halifax.

Like any new business owner, Richard expected to face challenges. He didn’t expect COVID-19. Travel restrictions were in place right when he was ready to look for a location. He said Pharmasave employees helped him set up viewings online, then he visited Halifax in the summer.

“As soon as I walked in I knew,” he said of the old Smith’s Bakery location.

Greg Richard points to what will be the staff room.   Kheira Morellon

Richard decided to name the business after his grandfather on his mother’s side, who was himself a business owner in Miramichi.

“He came from nothing,” said Richard. “The name comes from his drive to improve the lives of everyone around him and the community.”

Renovations began Dec. 7 to change Smith’s Bakery into Boyd’s Pharmasave.   Kheira Morellon

His grandfather was not his only inspiration.

When it came to designing the interior, Richard looked to Rose Apothecary, the fictional store on the TV show Schitt’s Creek. It had wooden floors and a rustic feel.

And like the character David Rose, Richard wants to support local vendors. He said he’s talked with a number of them about selling their products in his pharmacy. These products range from locally roasted coffee to handmade cards.

Renovations began Dec. 7 to transform the old Smith’s Bakery into Boyd’s Pharmasave. Richard expects to open his new business in February.

Correction: Dec. 15, 2020: An earlier version of this story contained multiple misspelled names.

Kheira Morellon

Kheira is a french immigrant currently living in Halifax. She is passionate about languages and is looking to bring more coverage to the Franco-Canadian community.

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