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Cedra Pharmacy, with locations on the Upper East Side and the Bronx in New York, is a new kind of pharmacy. It’s geared towards an upscale clientele, with pharmacists and a staff focused on high quality care, attention, health, and wellness. Founder Mazen Karnaby describes Cedra, founded in 2014, as the “antidote to the modern pharmacy.” What sets the establishment apart from others is a stock of hard-to-find products, more targeted time with patients, and a multi-level membership option for those looking for things like 24-hour emergency support, monthly nutritionist consultations, weekly personal training, door-to-door doctor’s appointment transportation, home-delivered meals, and more, offering a holistic and high-end approach to health maintenance. Whitewall spoke with Karnaby about Cedra to learn more.
WHITEWALL: What was your initial idea for Cedra?
MAZEN KARNABY: I previously worked at big retail pharmacies and I saw that the need was there, that people were frustrated with big pharmacies. People don’t get attention, one-on-one time, and they’re always rushed. The whole mentality is to get the prescription, fill it, and send you out the door without taking the time to sit with the patient and explain what needs to be done.
I wanted to make sure that when we deal with our patients, we give them all the tools and education because knowledge can help you fight your disease. Information is key for us and that’s why I wanted to come up with the pharmacy where attention to our customers is our main concern. We added the extra benefits of a membership program for the wealthy people, but our doors are open to everyone, not just to our members. We guarantee amazing service to everyone. And for people that can afford it and want to spend the extra money on a membership, we’ll go the extra mile for them.
WW: What seems interesting about the membership option is that it has an holistic approach to health, not simply focused on medications but ways to get healthy and stay healthy like targeted nutrition, exercise, regular massages, etc.
MK: We believe in trying to prevent a problem from happening, and that comes with a change of lifestyle, a change of eating habits, exercising, and staying away from things that can damage your body.
Before we take on a member, we ask for all their medical records and in an interview, we ask them everything we can about the person. We build around that and create a plan of attack. We see what this patient needs, and we come up with a comprehensive plan to handle his or her health issues.
Our programs continue to change as we listen to our customers to see what they are in need of, what they would love to have on top of what we already provide. Nothing is set in stone and we can always customize each program to each person’s needs.
WW: And aside from the membership service, your doors are open to anyone, correct?
MK: Yes, our doors are open, and patients all pay the same amount of money they would pay when they go to a regular chain store, we don’t overcharge. We’ll call the insurance company, investigate their benefits, and make sure the insurance picks up the tab. We go the extra mile.
WW: Can you tell us about the kinds of products that you stock?
MK: We carry luxury products that aren’t readily available in other stores. We source our products from all parts of the world. We have beauty experts and we have health experts that can advise on a range of topics, from vitamin intake to face creams. We offer an educated choice.
WW: And you are planning to open a branch in Dallas next year?
MK: Yes, we will launch in Dallas in February of 2016. Dallas is the second largest growing city in the United States. There is a lot of money in Dallas and the medical field is huge there. We already have accounts that we service out of New York for Dallas and we have a lot of big hospitals that we service out of New York.
WW: Do you plan on opening in any other locations?
MK: We’re in play for California and Houston right now. In Houston we bought an existing pharmacy that we’re going to take over in December and we’ll transform that, and the same thing for California. But the pharmacy in California is going to be a closed-door pharmacy for now, giving us some ground work to be present in California while we look for a high-end retail location that we can open.
Cedra is located at 1207 2nd Avenue in Manhattan and 3027 3rd Avenue in the Bronx.