Williston couple expands independent pharmacy

By Amanda Kuhnert

In 2013, Corey and Kelly Duteau bought Freedom Pharmacy, a Williston-based company that provides personalized medication management services to customers in Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York. The independently owned pharmacy works with physicians and insurance companies to deliver prescription refills to their customers’ doorstep. The medications are organized into personal pill cups that make it easy to keep tracks of daily doses. 

The previous owners had done everything by hand. To grow the business, the Duteaus needed to secure financing that would enable them to automate the pill distribution process. So they contacted Stephen Densham, an advisor with the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC). 

“What transpired from there has been nothing short of amazing!”, Kelly said. “Steve mentioned that we should apply for the Small Business Association (SBA) Emerging Leaders program, which we did and got accepted. This led to the creation of a three-year growth plan for the business.”

Up to that point, the couple had been leasing space for the business. After completing the SBA course in October 2018, the Duteaus began exploring the possibility of purchasing a home base for their growing company. “The first person we called was Steve at VtSBDC,” Kelly said. “He helped us run numbers to see if we could afford the building and make the move. I am happy to say that we are now in our own building and loving it, setting the stage for the next steps, growth, and adding the automation that we know will help us scale our business.”

Lessons learned

Working with an advisor not only helped the Duteaus accomplish their goals, they also were able to tap into the business knowledge that most entrepreneurs learn over a lifetime. Densham has owned many successful businesses over his 40-plus year career, and enjoys sharing his stories and lessons with VtSBDC clients. 

“We learned to work more on the business than in the business,” Kelly said. Densham shared with them the rule of 168: “This is the number of hours in a week, and it’s up to us what we do with it,” Kelly said. “Everyone has the same amount of time.” 

“The Duteaus are a great example of entrepreneurs who take advantage of the resources available to Vermont business owners, through the VtSBDC and other organizations,” Densham said. 

“The VtSBDC was exactly what I needed to start my business,” Colby said. “Their guidance helped me to put all of my ideas and passion for my business into action. I’ve never been happier with my profession.”