Ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, and you’ll likely receive any number of answers: policeman, firefighter, professional athlete, astronaut, doctor. The list is endless.
As they grow up, though, desires can change, and new interests may take kids down new and unexpected paths. Often, they end up in professions they never would’ve dream of and enjoying them more than they could’ve imagined.
For Jonathan Martin, that illustration would be “half right.” In one respect, he’s doing what he wanted to do from a very young age.
“My dream job was to be a pharmacist,” he said. “The biggest interest for me has always been patient interaction and dealing with people every day. That’s what’s always driven me. It’s a great combination of providing a service while helping people improve their lives.”
The 32-year-old Bryant native graduated from Arkansas Tech University and the UAMS College of Pharmacy. He didn’t stray too far from home, coming back to Saline County where he’s worked in his respective field for close to a decade. That’s where things changed, though, and the “other half” of Martin’s story took off.
“I had every intention of staying where I was and working for USA Drug,” he said. “They sold out, though, and it presented an opportunity for me to open my own pharmacy. That’s what we did and haven’t looked back, but I honestly never thought I’d have my own business.”
Now the owner of Bryant Family Pharmacy on Highway 5 in Bryant, Martin enjoys wearing two hats professionally, one of medical specialist and one of an entrepreneur.
“It’s great. You get to make the decisions, but there is a lot of stress involved with that,” he said.
“A lot of people may think, ‘You own the place, so you make your own hours,’ but it’s the opposite. You end up working more hours because there’s so much more you have to do beyond being a pharmacist. There’s so much more to do every day.
“You don’t realize how many opportunities there are for different things, whether it be running the business every day or with things like advertising,” he added. “You just fill the prescriptions and work for someone else. Once you start running the pharmacy and owning the business, you begin realizing just how many opportunities there are.”
It’s a full day-to-day work load for Martin, and some of it has been unexpected. However, he still finds time to relax and unplug from the demands of the job. In addition to spending time with his wife and two children, Martin also enjoys playing golf and devoting time to his other hobby of rebuilding older and classic cars.
“I’ve got a couple of little projects, right now,” he said. “I’ve been working on a 1969 Toyota Landcruiser. I’m almost done with it, and it will be a fun riding-around truck.”
Martin continues to maintain one of his company’s first and most important principles – focusing on the customers’ well-being.
“Our big focus is different from chain pharmacies. Where they may want to see as many patients as possible without an emphasis on satisfaction or time spent waiting, we’re the opposite of that,” he said. “We fill prescriptions for patients throughout the day, counsel them on their medications and disease states and try to make sure they know how to best take their medications and the possible side effects that could come. We focus on having our patients in, out and on with their day with great customer service and knowing we’re as committed to their health as they are.”