Phil Hein’s story resembles many Westporters’.
He and his wife Karen lived in New York. They had a baby, then moved to the suburbs. He worked for a big company. He’d get home late, mentally spent. He’d hang out with his kids, get up in the morning, and do it all again.
After 25 years — sitting in a boardroom, working on his computer, sitting in traffic on the Merritt Parkway — he thought to himself, “I have to do more.”
Hein recalled the active lifestyle he’d had when he was younger (including a stint as a Colorado ski bum). A couple of years ago, he said: “I will do more.”
Then — unlike many suburbanites — he made a radical move.
Hein spent the first half of 2016 figuring out what to do. He talked to as many people as he could, from franchisees to small business owners. He explored different ideas.
A friend who owned a pharmacy outside Washington, DC seemed very happy. He enjoyed his work; he knew everyone in the community; customers brought him presents.
Hein — who had a background in retail, and by then had moved from Westport to Weston — had an “aha!” moment. What our towns need, he thought, was an old-fashioned pharmacy: a place where people could hang out, buy what they needed, and feel both embraced and educated in the process.
But he added a modern twist to the figurative pot-bellied stove. He wanted natural options, to enhance the store’s “natural” feeling.
Which is exactly what you’ll find, in the newly opened Shoreline Pharmacy.
It’s not exactly on the shore — in fact, it’s on the Post Road next to Shake Shack and Fjord Fisheries, across from Home Goods near the Southport line — but Hein has tried to create a “beach” vibe inside.
It’s bright, inviting, feel-good, with natural wood shelving. Comfortable sofas invite lounging. Surf and reggae music plays.
There’s a conventional pharmacy. But Hein’s philosophy of integrative medicine includes wellness and lifestyle. So he stocked his store with natural supplements and remedies. He added a “living room,” where nutritionists, chefs and others give informative talks.
An important step on Hein’s journey was finding the right pharmacist. He hired a woman who — like he — felt burned out working for a big firm. She looks forward to really getting to know her customers, and helping solve their problems.
Shoreline Pharmacy opened a few days ago. Feedback has been exactly what Hein hoped for.
Then at closing time he drives a few minutes home, spends quality time with his wife and kids — and knows he did the right thing.
For himself, and his community.