Dokimos’ Pharmacies: All in the family
Dokimos’ Nevada City Pharmacy
737 Zion Street
Nevada City, CA 95959
Dokimos’ East Main Pharmacy
640 E Main Street
Grass Valley, CA 95945
Becoming a pharmacist was an easy choice for David Dokimos. He grew up working in his father’s pharmacy in Rocklin and had always admired the relationship his dad had with longtime customers. He went on to graduate from Idaho State University College of Pharmacy, where his father and brother were alumni. When his dad finally sold his pharmacy, David went to work for Long’s Drugs, where he managed several area pharmacies, including stores in Yuba City and Lake of the Pines.
As he began to rack up experience working for large chain pharmacies, he began to notice the constraints of corporate protocol.
“I started to think about what I (would) do differently if I were to go out on my own,” he said. “Some larger companies seemed to be more interested in the bottom line than customer service. I wanted to make the experience more personalized.”
The first time David met his wife, Kelly, it was over the phone. She worked at a local doctor’s office and would regularly call in prescriptions.
“He had a calm, reserved voice,” said Kelly, with a laugh. “He was very thorough — he once corrected me on the pronunciation of a medication.”
The two finally met face to face when their two youngest kids attended the same day care, and went on to create a blended family of five children. As if that weren’t enough, they began entertaining the idea of opening their own pharmacy in Grass Valley.
“Everyone thought we were crazy, they were concerned,” said Kelly. “But the support from local doctors — especially Sierra Care Physicians — was encouraging.”
Despite the doubts of others, David said he was unwaveringly confident there was room for a customer-oriented, family-owned pharmacy amid the growing number of chains.
He was right.
In December of 2004, David and Kelly opened Dokimos’ Pharmacy on East Main Street in Grass Valley. Several of David’s co-workers from his former job didn’t hesitate to join them in their new venture.
“It was an easy decision to come and work for David at his new business,” said pharmacy technician Tami Salcedo, who started working for David in 1991. “He has always understood the need for good customer service. We provide services for the elderly and people who are sick. He understands that we need to be fast, friendly and efficient. I like the way he runs the pharmacy and what he expects from his employees.”
Kelly and David didn’t take a single day off the first three years in business, and Kelly was pleasantly surprised by the growing popularity of her gift area.
Some customers began popping in solely for her gift selection.
A selling point at the store, said Kelly, is that prices — including prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs and novelty items are all competitively priced. They are part of a buying group, which enables them to keep prices down. Also, as an independent business Dokimos’ is able to freely give back to the community, said Kelly. Over the years they have routinely donated to local schools and nonprofits, such as KARE Crisis Nursery and Community Recovery Resources, also known as CoRR.
In August of 2007, a second Dokimos’ Pharmacy opened on Zion Street in Nevada City, which has continued to thrive as well. David’s father, Ernie, works there three days a week. Happy with the status quo, David and Kelly say they now have 25 employees with no plans to open a third pharmacy.
“We’re very happy with the way things are — I am so proud of our amazing employees,” he said. “We absolutely couldn’t do it without a top-notch staff, some of whom have been with us since we opened. We’ve always put staffing ahead of profits. Our employees are a big reason why our customers feel they have a personal relationship with us.”
Today, all five children are out of the house — except when they bring their seven grandchildren over. David and Kelly have actually been able to take time off, including a recent trip to Crete to visit David’s Greek relatives.
And David is one proud father, as his daughter Jacki has graduated from pharmacy school at Idaho State University. She is now in the process of completing her clinical rotations and is working in the Grass Valley Dokimos’ pharmacy. She plans to join the family business.
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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