From Humble Beginnings
Words By Danae Jones | Photo by Catherine Coombs
THE Calanna name is synonymous in the pharmaceutical industry – leading the charge with combined natural and mainstream medicines since 1976.
The Calanna Pharmacy Group now has 11 pharmacy locations throughout Queensland – in Cairns (4), Innisfail (1), Townsville (4) Atherton and the Gold Coast (1). In 2013 the expansion of their anchor pharmacy at Woree on the Bruce Highway gave them the ability to provide better Allied Health services.
The pharmacy site at Woree now has three additional consulting rooms which include a naturopath, diabetic consultant and a sleep apnoea clinic.
The Calanna Pharmacy Group is very much a family affair with Mario’s children Matthew and Catherine working in the business with him and his wife Linda considered very much the backbone of the business and the family since it all began.
“They (my son and daughter) both work with me in the pharmacies and have grown up with Dad mixing lotions and potions to treat people’s illnesses their whole lives. They really live it and breathe it and love what they do. Matthew is really the business minded one out of the two and his innovative ideas are building the Calanna Whole Health Pharmacy brand. He believes in what I have started and wants to make a positive difference in healthcare throughout our communities.”
“We differ from other pharmacies in that we provide affordable integrated solutions that are customised to people’s needs. No one customer’s condition is the same, everyone is different and so they need personalised treatments. Matthew and Catherine want to see this type of pharmaceutical methodology expanded upon,” he says smiling.
When asked why they decided to expand, Mario Calanna simply says the increasingly unhealthy population is what has driven the expansion and their strong commitment to provide integrated and targeted solutions that achieve long term results.
“There is no doubt that the steep rise in chronic diseases – heart disease, diabetes and cancer is of concern to us. We see more people presenting with these diseases in our community every day. Our desire is to prevent our customers from getting these diseases. We want people to come to us not only when they are crook, but when they are well, so we can prevent disease and manage their health.”
Services that are core to the business include:
1. myDNA which provides personal information on the best medications and food intake
2. Dose Administration Aids where medication is packed for personal and family members (these allow medication to be packed into weekly packs of up to 4 doses per day)
3. Face to Face dispensing where a Pharmacist dispenses the medication while the patient is present
4. Many of Mario’s own products which include Immune Tonics, Muscle Ache Cream, Prickly Heat Spray, Lice products and essential oils
The Calanna Pharmacy Group boasts a very loyal following that continues to grow. Many local families have had generations upon generations being treated by the Calanna teams.
“I opened the Woree pharmacy back in 1976, it was our first pharmacy and it was built on what used to be the old cane farm and family home site where I grew up. It holds deep sentimental value to us. Many of those customers that first came to me back in 1976 are still coming here. They have since had kids and those kids have grown up and have had their own kids, and the entire family now comes to us for health care and advice. That level of following is heartening for us and it makes you want to get up in the morning and make a positive difference in people’s lives,” he said.
Mario’s vision is that every customer is able to say:
“When I walk into a Calanna Pharmacy I am greeted and helped like I’m part of the family. I feel at home. I can find the solution or information to improve the quality of my life. I leave the Pharmacy feeling good about my experience. I know I can come back to Calanna and have this same experience time after time.”