Working for a big-box urban Florida pharmacy chain for five years, Dr. Martez C.L. Prince, Pharm.D., RPh, always felt pressured to get his customers in and out as quickly as possible. Eventually, the experience soured him on the idea of working for others. Dr. Prince questioned whether or not the big box chain’s corporate pharmacy division truly cared when it came to customer service or giving back to the community.
Dr. Prince knew it was only a matter of time until he would start his own business. A few years later, he did just that: after relocating to Charlotte, North Carolina, Dr. Prince opened up the Premier Pharmacy and Wellness Center at age 29, making him one of the youngest independent pharmacy owners in the city. Dr. Prince’s goal was to provide customers, many of whom were senior citizens, with respect, and to let them feel heard. “Our patients are family,” Dr. Prince says.
Growing up in the then very-rural town of Fort Pierce, Florida with a close knit family was instrumental to his professional path. Dr. Prince’s first job at age 15 was working for the community pharmacy, where he did deliveries and stocked supplies. The pharmacy owner, also an African-American male, became his mentor, encouraging the teen to go to FAMU, his alma matter. Several years later Dr. Prince attended college and eventually went on to earn a doctorate in pharmacy, also from FAMU.
One of Dr. Prince’s fondest pre-Covid memories is of his visit from none other than Oprah Winfrey. Her team was scouting out places to visit during her 2020 Wellness tour. A key member of Oprah’s team reached out to Dr. Prince and he couldn’t believe it was true at first. The cameo visit was one of his only lighthearted memories of 2020.
After Covid hit, Dr. Prince knew that he would have to drastically change things around and implement pandemic-related changes such as social distancing, since his 2,000 square foot pharmacy retail space would not be able to accommodate the regular number of customers. “Those early days were incredibly stressful and kept me up at night,” he says. Between answering Covid questions and prescription refill requests, his phone never stopped ringing. One of the first independent pharmacies in the Charlotte area to provide Covid vaccination services, Dr. Prince estimates 2021’s busiest period was earlier in the year, when he was providing vaccinations to 100 customers a day.
On a lighter note, Dr. Prince says he is used to lot of strange requests. He’s heard it all, everything from would-be customers who demand that he do on-the-spot Botox on them or international customers who think he can ship prescription drugs to their home address without a prescription. For the record, Premier Wellness and Pharmacy is licensed to ship prescription medications (accompanied with a doctor’s valid prescription) within North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida only. When it comes to non-prescription medication, the pharmacy will ship its retail products anywhere across the globe. And the future looks pretty bright: Dr. Prince is opening a second location in West Charlotte at some point towards the end of this year.
- Premier Pharmacy and Wellness Center
- 3010 Monroe Road Suite 101, Charlotte, NC 28205704-496-9182 Mon-Fri: 9a.m.-6p.m. | Sat: 9a.m.-3p.m. | Sun: Closed