SBA 2020 Kentucky Rural Owned Small Business of the Year (tie)
Name: Steve Whitaker
Title: Owner and Co-Founder
Company: Whitaker Pharmacy, Inc.
Address: 570 Indian Mound Drive
Mt. Sterling, KY 40353
Whitaker Pharmacy has been locally owned and operated by Pharmacist Steve Whitaker since 2001. Two other pharmacists and 13 other employees work at the Mt. Sterling location, including Steve’s wife and co-founder, Mireya. Their younger son, Alex, aspires to be a pharmacist and will join the pharmacy after completing college.
In 2007, the Whitakers opened Bath Hometown Pharmacy in Owingsville. In 2009, they expanded again with a pharmacy in Campton and followed two years later with a location in Stanton. The four pharmacies employee 40 and serve four counties.
Steve recently utilized the SBA 504 loan program to construct a new pharmacy in Mt. Sterling. The 20-year term, low fixed rate loan was a significant factor in the decision to build rather than continue leasing space. The result: a significant savings due to an extremely low interest rate and doubling of space.
The new facility includes a state-of-the-art custom compounding lab. The additional space accommodates more inventory, including essential oils and boutique products from local entrepreneurs. The pharmacy offers an automated prescription refill service and free delivery, important services in rural communities. Other enhanced services include on-site vaccinations and free vitamin program for children.
Barry Frazier, VP of Commercial Lending for Peoples Exchange Bank, oversaw the project. He notes that the savings resulting from owning the building instead of leasing space improves cash flow, allowing the pharmacy to expand services and products. As a result, sales, net income and customers have increased significantly.
When COVID-19 struck, Steven applied for a PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan. The loans helped save the business and 40 jobs.
Steve is a member of the National Community Pharmacists and Kentucky Independent Pharmacists Associations. The Whitakers are active in their church. They dedicated the new building to their older son, Trevor, who they lost to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a painful disease that weakens the connective tissues of the body. In Trevor’s memory, they also endowed a college scholarship.