THE Banovich Pharmacy in South Fremantle is celebrating its 50th year in business.
Established in November 1968 by brothers Alex and Brian Banovich, the pharmacy originally doubled as a social work centre for immigrants.
These days the Hampton Road pharmacy is run by Alex’s daughter, Michelle.
“Alex and Brian were really looking for a base where they could make a difference for people; especially non-English speaking people which was South Fremantle back in those days,” Ms Banovich says.
“There were lots of market gardeners, Portuguese fishermen, Croatians and Italians.
“They came to the pharmacy as a destination for filling out forms, translations and paying bills.”
Ms Banovich says that community spirit is still at the heart of the business.
“We’re very fortunate that we have a community belief and a community awareness because we’ve been here so long and know a lot of people in the area.”
“You see people come in and out everyday and you actually develop a personal relationship, not just a retail relationship.
“We feel they’re an extension of our family and our lives, as we often see clients more than we see our families.”
Banovich Pharmacy’s long-running commitment to the community hasn’t gone unnoticed, with locals rolling up their sleeves to help the business in times of need.
Last year the Christmas party was cut short when a car crashed through the shop’s front window.
People flocked down to help and one local even offered to board up the windows.
“We were up and trading the next day,” Ms Banovich says. “The community was really great and supported us the whole way through it.”
During 50 years of trading the business has been through highs and lows, including the 1987 America’s Cup in Fremantle.
Banovich were the official pharmacists for Alan Bond’s yacht, the Australia IV, and handled all its first aid.
Ms Banovich says healthcare has evolved over the years and the government needs to devote more funds to mental health care.
“There’s still such a stigma around mental health. I think the way we handle that, is that we’re really open to having private conversations with people,” she says.
“We’ve got four consulting rooms where people can talk to us one-on-one and discuss their issues privately.
“We’re not getting funding for that, but we do it because we feel we’re part of the community.”
The Banovich Pharmacy provides a range of health services including lifestyle, dietary and medical support.
So what’s the secret to running a successful local business for half a century?
“Do the right thing by the people–not the dollar,” Ms Banovich says.
by CHARLIE BRAY
9/195 Hampton Rd, South Fremantle