Today we’d like to introduce you to Erin Cueto.
Erin, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Our pharmacy is two generations of women. Vilai, my mother, who received her Doctorate of Pharmacy from USC, originally worked in hospital pharmacy. She saw that patients weren’t getting the care they needed once they left the hospital and left to run an independent pharmacy where she could care for her patients on an individual level, ultimately leading to healthier outcomes and community. We run the pharmacy like a private practice office, taking care of patients on an individual basis unlike chain pharmacies, and get to know our patients on a personal level. These chain pharmacy’s really took out the Pharmacist’s role in the patient’s care, which is our primary job. Our motto is “Welcome to our family” because we treat every patient like they were our own family member that we would want the best for.
I grew up in Westchester and in the pharmacy, leaving for college at UC Berkeley where I received my BA in Molecular Cell Biology. I then received my doctorate from University of Colorado, after which I returned home to take over the family pharmacy.
We often treat three generations within families, and I’ve grown up with many of my patients. We’ve cultivated a reputation for integrity and quality not just with patients but with other medical professionals as well. We are a very humble business, we didn’t even have a sign until five years ago! Everyone called us Westchester’s best kept secret.
I currently live in Westchester with my husband and two children, looking forward to raising my kids in the same neighborhood I grew up in. My husband Mario is Mexican American, so our children are lucky to have cultural roots in Mexico, China, and Thailand.
My mother, Vilai, is Chinese but originally from Thailand and came to the US for college at UCLA where she meets my father. Being both a foreigner and non-native speaker for her was difficult and often created barriers to rising within the hospital. Growing up, she and my father always emphasized the importance of being an active community member and I’ve grown up with service and civic engagement as an integral part of my life. Today I am a member of the Westchester Rotary Club which is active in our neighborhood and internationally.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Surviving as an independent pharmacy is a daily struggle. I was trained as a pharmacist, not a businesswoman, so I had to learn the business side on my own. Female pharmacy owners are rare and there were not many role models other than my mother. It often feels like an old boys club and carving out your respect can be challenging.
The only competition we face is unfair practices by insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). The truth about PBMs are finally starting to come into the public, and only hope that as there’s more public awareness.
We sometimes struggle with getting new patients. Many patients don’t realize the immense advantage of going to an independent pharmacy. We not only make you healthier, we save you money. We talk with you and your doctors to make sure you always have the most optimal care. I wish I could tell everyone that you don’t need to suffer at CVS!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Westchester Pharmacy – what should we know?
We are an independent community pharmacy. I am proud that we have integrity and work ethic. We work with the patients and the prescribers to make sure everything is the best possible outcome for the patients in terms of health and cost. This often takes extra work and time, things that other pharmacies are unwilling to provide.
We find that patients that are happier with their pharmacy experience are more apt to take better care of their health because they know we care. We recognize their faces when they come in, their voices on the phone. We identify barriers for the patients and solve the problems to overcome them.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My mother, Vilai, was an excellent role model. She had high ethical standards that I am proud to share, as well as a sense of responsibility to our community.
My all-female staff is amazing. They all share the same hard work ethic that makes us so successful. They always tell me they look forward to coming to work everyday.
- Free medicare part D plan consultations
- Free medication reviews
- Free delivery in Westchester and surrounding neighborhoods
- Address: 8930 S Sepulveda Blvd Ste 103
- Website: www.WestchesterPharmacy.com
- Phone: 3106703463
- Email: westchesterRX@gmail.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WestchesterRX/
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/westchester-pharmacy-los-angeles