It was her love for both business and medicine that led to Lynda Bryant deciding to become a pharmacist. And what a good decision it turned out to be…
A successful and ambitious entrepreneur and mother of two, Lynda has owned the popular Thrive – Better than Well, pharmacy and health shop in Kloof (previously the National Road Pharmacy) for the past 15 years. This month she opens the doors to her newest venture, Thrive Health and Wellness Ballito.
Like most efficacious business owners, Lynda had a long-term vision for the pharmacy and always knew she wanted to do things a little differently. In so doing, she has not only married her passion for business and science, but has also managed to integrate her passion for wellness and people into her company.
At the age of 26 Lynda was approached by the then owner of the National Road Pharmacy who was looking for a full-time pharmacist. “I said I would take the job, as long as I could buy the business,” laughs Lynda. And that’s exactly what she did. Lynda bought fifty percent of the business, which had been running successfully for the previous 45 years, and a few months later she bought them out completely. “I started to grow the business little by little. It was one of those typical, Link community pharmacies, which was well supported by the locals.”
Lynda slowly revamped the pharmacy with small changes and upgrades over the years. One of the first changes she implemented, was staying open later. “In the beginning I was a bit nervous working on my own at the pharmacy at night, so I employed Blessing, the previous owner’s housekeeper’s son, to stay with me for a few hours every night. He worked his way up and is now a qualified post-basic pharmacy assistant and has been with me for 15 years. Monde, who was once our gardener, has also trained up over the years in the pharmacy and is also a qualified post-basic pharmacy assistant,” says Lynda.
The pharmacy continued to be very community-focused and Lynda implemented various ways of supporting the community by implementing education programmes for the patients and staff, support for the environment and health awareness partnerships, including a strong support of CANSA to provide basic cancer screening tests, to name a few.
It was this ‘giving back’ ethos, both to her staff and the community, that inevitably led to Lynda’s pharmacy being named the Best Pharmacy in South Africa by the national pharmacy council both in 2013 and again as Thrive last year.
When she re-branded the pharmacy to Thrive – Better than Well – in 2016, Lynda says her goal was to create a space that would serve the community’s needs on a health and wellness level. She wanted to ‘up the game’ and set them apart from other pharmacies. “I wanted to create a place that would marry health and wellness with traditional medicine and professional advice – in a beautiful setting.”
Thrive Kloof – Better than Well – incorporates a pharmacy, health shop, clinic and The Juice Kitchen juice bar and now it is coming to Ballito.
“I’ve always wanted to grow and share Thrive with other similar communities. Late last year I was introduced to Kevin Hedderwick, the former Group CEO of the JSE listed group Famous Brands Limited. Kevin has an impeccable business record having, amongst other business milestones, turned what was a small family business with a market capitalization of R65M in 2000 into a R16Billion company at the time of his retirement in 2016. Today Kevin invests in venture capital projects and, after a two-year search, decided to join me and invest in the Thrive brand. Ballito is a family and health-focused area and we believe that the local community will benefit immensely from opening of Thrive in this market.”
After Ballito, the team has set their sights on a further three stores by the middle of 2021. Thrive Ballito is a health and wellness store with natural, organic and (wherever possible) locally-sourced food, skin care, vitamin supplements, cleaning products and gifts. There is also a clinic space for a homeopath and nutritionist. The Juice Kitchen is an important part of the Thrive’s journey. Customers are able to get their fresh fix with organic cold pressed vegetable and fruit juices, delicious superfood smoothies and more. “What sets us apart, I think, is the niche health and wellness product mix we offer in a beautiful space. My sister Sharon works with me. She is a highly experienced, professional buyer, and has ensured we have the right mix of merchandise in store. I want people to live healthier lives. I want them to be better than just well. I would like them to thrive!”
Details: Thrive Ballito, The Well, Ballito, www.wethrive.co.za
Text: Leah Shone | Photograph: CHRIS ALLAN PHOTO |
Stylist: WENDY HIND Hair & makeup: VOLENTI LAURENTINA | Dress: MUZE