Entrepreneur: T.J. Woodard

    Tommy Joe "T.J." Woodard, pharmacist, owner and operator of Prescriptions to Geaux
    Photography by Brian Baiamonte

    COMPANY Prescriptions to Geaux

    POSITION Owner and pharmacist

    WHAT THEY DO Full-service pharmacy

    ADDRESS 313 Third St., Baton Rouge

    NEXT GOALS Open a franchise location


    OVER THE COUNTER

    Fresh out of pharmacy school, T.J. Woodard and his wife moved from north Louisiana to Baton Rouge to begin their careers. They both went to work as pharmacists at large chains, but realized shortly after that the big box model wasn’t a good fit for either of them. The corporate giants lacked the personal touch and customer service that Woodard always envisioned for his profession. He considered getting out of pharmacy altogether and began pursuing his MBA in the evenings at LSU. But once there, he began to think about options for opening a pharmacy of his own that would operate the way he always thought they should.

    THE RIGHT DOSE

    Woodard’s gut told him that downtown Baton Rouge—with its residential growth in recent years but lack of a pharmacy—would be the ideal location for his business. He opened Prescriptions to Geaux on Third Street in 2013 to much fanfare from the community. “A lot of people downtown really wanted this thing to work. They want to support the little guy—and they will, as long as you are giving them a product that is consistent and competitive.” Prescriptions to Geaux opened around the same time as Matherne’s Market Downtown, the first supermarket to operate in the area in decades, and both businesses have been well-received as downtown continues to see further residential expansion.

    IMPROVED OUTCOMES

    From his storefront on Third Street, Woodard continues to learn and adapt to the growing and evolving downtown community. To meet customers’ needs, he offers delivery service to area offices and homes. And with more people living downtown but working elsewhere in the city, he’s thinking about expanding his bankers hours to remain open later into the evening. Woodard says his favorite part of being a business owner is the day-to-day interactions he has with regular customers—some of whom just stop in for a cup of coffee and chat. “This place brings back some of that old charm that’s lost in our modern world.”

    SIDE EFFECTS

    With five years of business under his belt, Woodard is now looking at his options for expanding Prescriptions to Geaux’s footprint. He’s in the process of refining a franchise model that could serve as a template for other pharmacists who, like him, want to operate an independent pharmacy but may feel intimidated by the process. “Independent pharmacies can make it again.” He’s especially encouraged by the way pharmacists in the Baton Rouge area support one another. “We work together, and we can really survive and thrive in this world if you do it correctly.” Woodard hopes to see the first Prescriptions to Geaux franchise location open later this year.