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A family-run pharmacy firm is providing essential services during COVID-19 lockdown after acquiring its third site in Aberdeenshire with the support of Bank of Scotland.


JMF Healthcare, which now runs three pharmacies in the region, opened its first store in Newtonhill in 2008 and its second in Edzell six years later.


Headed up by John Fowlie and his wife, the duo decided to expand the business and acquire a third branch in Aberdeen. Supported by a six-figure funding package from Bank of Scotland, JMF Healthcare took over the running of the E I Mackie pharmacy in the Garthdee area of the city in March.


The purchase of the store has allowed JMF Healthcare to expand its workforce from 15 to 20 employees and means the company can offer bulk-buying discounts and a comprehensive delivery service.


Despite opening in March, the renovation of the store’s interior has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak but the pharmacy has remained open to provide essential services to residents in the area.


John Fowlie, director and pharmacist at JMF Healthcare, said: “We’d been in the store for just a few weeks when the outbreak began and had to move quickly to adapt to this unusual environment.


“Our priorities shifted from the pharmacy’s refurbishment to ensuring our staff and customers had everything they needed to stay safe during the pandemic. This included introducing protective equipment for staff, restricting the building to one customer at a time, and delivering prescriptions to customers that are housebound.


“Thanks to the funding from Bank of Scotland, we’ve been able to fulfil our own growth ambitions while continuing our essential work during this challenging time.”


Vivien Bisset, relationship manager at Bank of Scotland, said: “Although it may not have been the ideal start for John and his team at the Garthdee pharmacy, the work they are doing for the local community is crucial.


“We are looking to provide as much support as we can to businesses that are carrying out essential services during this uncertain time. As part of our support for UK businesses, we’ve committed to lend up to £18bn this year.”


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