“I feel so blessed to live so close. ” ” A rare pearl. “Human service.” “Dedicated and attentive staff. »
Just the reviews on Google make you want to go there. And to see the window, we guess that the pharmacy of Sébastien Lacroix is not like the others. They sell plants, bulk products, reusable kitchen items and candles made in Quebec.
If a pharmacy has occupied 161 Beaubien Street East for more than 50 years, its owner pharmacist took a boutique, local and eco-responsible turn in 2017.
Sébastien Lacroix had already been working there for a dozen years. He and his uncle had originally bought the pharmacy, which was doing well with prescriptions from a family doctor whose office was nearby. When the latter passed away, Sébastien Lacroix – who had become the sole owner – thought to close the door. Instead, he saw an opportunity to stop doing business conservatively.
As more and more pharmacies take on the appearance of department stores, Sébastien Lacroix wanted his to reflect his values and his community. “Without stupid music,” he jokes. When an employee told him about Oneka products and soaps, made in Frelighsburg, he had a first click. “We didn’t have to sell Dove,” he says.
Five years later, heaps of products from here are on the shelves. “We went to exhibitions of Quebec products to inspire us,” says Sébastien Lacroix. The 46-year-old owner-pharmacist speaks to “we”, because he can count on loyal employees, who have become his friends, including Laurence Fortin, in office since 2018 and responsible for plants for sale. “I decided to do a DEP in floristry, then Sébastien asked me if I had an idea for a project for the pharmacy,” she says. It adds a lot to my happiness at work. The day we receive the plants, everyone is happy. »
To complete his pharmacy “revival”, Sébastien Lacroix entrusted the design of his logo to illustrator Michael Jachner. “He painted this by hand for four months,” he still marvels. Sébastien Lacroix also listened to the advice of a client who works in interior design so that the reception desk opens towards the window and the entrance door. “Everything was expensive, so we did an IKEA hack,” he says proudly.
It is not with all the brands that Sébastien Lacroix could have done this, nor have more than 50 distributors – mainly Quebecers – instead of having only a few to save time and costs.
Under the Uniprix banner, Sébastien Lacroix was able to reinvent his offer in front of his prescription counter. The latter is not fooled, however: the surrounding neighborhood has gentrified, so there is a clientele to buy BKIND face creams, Bionature bulk products and Lolo baby bubble bath.
Long-time patients who have moved continue to entrust their prescriptions to him. “This morning, my delivery man went to Pointe-aux-Trembles. We even go as far as Terrebonne,” he says. Over the years, strong ties are forged between pharmacists and their customers. A lot of fragility, anxiety and confidences are transmitted from one side of the counter to the other. After a “how are you?” “, an elderly lady tells him in front of us that she feels exhausted. When told that it takes a lot of listening to practice his profession, Sébastien Lacroix replies that he simply likes talking to people. He actually thought about becoming a psychologist, but out of “insecurity” he took the more conventional path of pharmacy in college.
25 years ago, however, he could not have dreamed of a pharmacy like his. The business model of a pharmacy was all in all quite “straight”, he explains, recalling that pharmacies made a lot of money with the sale of… cigarettes!
“Straight” is certainly not a word that sticks with Sébastien Lacroix. Recently, the hiring of a pharmacist (who also earns a living as a flight attendant!) allowed him to go on a three-month trip with his lover and his 4 and 6-year-old children, Boris and Gaspard. The family spent time in New Zealand, Japan, Turkey and France. “I feel extremely privileged to have been able to do this,” he tells us in front of a picture of his boys hanging in his stylish vintage office in the basement of the pharmacy.
In what is also a music studio – with a stucco ceiling – you can see a poster of the group Chocolat, a work by artist Max Wise and the cut-out of a column dating from 2006 entitled “Le but, c’ is the way” by Pierre Foglia.
Definitely, Sébastien Lacroix’s pharmacy is not like the others.