Putting names to faces for community connection at Creswick Pharmacy

Being a part of community has always been important to Creswick Pharmacy owner Jeff Unmack. 

IN TOUCH: Creswick Pharmacy owner Jeff Unmack has connected with the Creswick community, getting to know his customers and in his role as director of the Community Bank. Picture: Lachlan Bence

IN TOUCH: Creswick Pharmacy owner Jeff Unmack has connected with the Creswick community, getting to know his customers and in his role as director of the Community Bank. Picture: Lachlan Bence

Even while working his first job as a pharmacist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital he knew he would end up working in community pharmacy. 

That’s exactly what he did after moving to Ballarat from Melbourne in 1991, working as a relief pharmacist for pharmacy owners in the region when they took time off. 

Mr Unmack got a feel for the Creswick community when originally working at the pharmacy as a reliever, and bought the business in 2001 at 36-years-old. 

“In that decade of relieving lots of pharmacies I realised one day I wanted to drive my own business,” he said. 

“I worked at pharmacies in Beaufort, Bacchus Marsh, Castlemaine, Daylesford and Bendigo… up to two dozen pharmacies in that time.” 

Bendigo born and bred, Mr Unmack first left the family home to study pharmacy at university in Melbourne, at a time when moving to the big smoke was the only option to study a pharmacy course. 

After spending four years working in Melbourne, Mr Unmack said he was happy to again set up home in a regional city, and work in a pharmacy where he could create a connection with the community.

“The nature of pharmacy is a lot of these people come back probably every month to get their next supply of medication, so you have fairly regular interaction with them,” he said. 

“You really do get to know their names quite well and I love finding out how families are linked. I have one particular family who I have worked with five generations in my time, so it is pretty special to have that connection.”  

HEALTH SERVICE: Creswick Pharmacy owner Jeff Unmack bought the business in 2001, after getting to know the community while working as a relieving pharmacist. Picutre: Lachlan Bence

HEALTH SERVICE: Creswick Pharmacy owner Jeff Unmack bought the business in 2001, after getting to know the community while working as a relieving pharmacist. Picutre: Lachlan Bence

The Creswick Pharmacy has been serving the health needs of the Creswick community for over 100 years. 

Mr Unmack said having a ranging of services meant residents could meet more of their needs in their home town. 

“We are not that far from Ballarat so we have access to specialists… but too often the community can fall through the cracks if they are reliant on a big city nearby.” 

The pharmacy moved into a new site in 2011 closer to the medical centre to allow for greater integration of health services, one of many changes over Mr Unmack’s 17 years of ownership.

“Technology has changed unbelievably. These days we have what is called electronic prescriptions. Rather than having to enter the details manually I can scan a barcode and all the information will come up,” he said. 

Despite rapid changes, it appears pharmacy owners leave a long legacy. 

“There has been only four owners of the Creswick Pharmacy in the last 100 years. I have been here the shortest term and that is nearly 17 years,” Mr Unmack said.

“It says something about getting here and liking what we do. Everyone here feels immersed in the community.

“I have worked with people in other pharmacies and I may now work with their sons or daughters. It is a great way of feeling like you are passing on information and you leave a legacy when you finish your career.” 

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