American Pharmacists Month Spotlight: Steve Smoker

Visitors to Paragould, Arkansas are often surprised to catch a glimpse of a seven-foot-tall bronze replica of the Statue of Liberty, the oldest replica outside of New York state, that sits on the grounds of the town’s historic courthouse. It has been a fixture in Paragould for as long as anyone can remember, just like Hyde Pharmacy.

When he was a child, Steve Smoker and his family were Hyde Pharmacy customers. Little did he know he’d grow up to be the owner. After getting his degree out of state, Mr. Smoker eventually returned to the town where he was raised. He accepted a pharmacist position at Hyde Pharmacy and in 1990, he purchased the business.

About four years ago, Mr. Smoker realized that his pharmacy needed to meet the demands of an increasingly digital world. According to Mr. Smoker, “Everything in our society is going digital. I knew I needed to make some changes. Other pharmacies were starting to offer a mobile app. I knew it was important to give our customers that option.”

Soon Mr. Smoker launched a new website and a Hyde Pharmacy-branded mobile app, which allowed customers to submit prescription refills without having to call or visit the store. To spread the word about the new app, Mr. Smoker and his team handed out flyers to customers. He also bought ads through the local cable station, and did print advertising through a local magazine.

Hyde Pharmacy’s new digital refill options are paying off.  More and more customers are downloading the app, and using it as the chief means by which to interact with the pharmacy. This year alone, refills via the mobile app have increased by nearly 30%.

Meanwhile, the business continues to grow. While once the only pharmacist, Mr. Smoker just hired his fourth pharmacist, a recent graduate who joined the team in June. He took on a partner, Kenneth Kuenzel, who worked at Hyde Pharmacy as a student and who is now part owner. And just this month, the Paragould Daily Press named Hyde Pharmacy the “Readers’ Choice Favorite” for 2017 in the drug store category.

This recent accolade proves that it’s possible to give customers the convenience of prescription refills online or via a mobile phone, while still offering high-quality customer care with a personal touch.