Erik Nelson

  • 2012 Cardinal Health Retail Independent Pharmacy Scholarship recipient
  • Graduated from Washington State University
  • Currently owns Sixth Avenue Medical Pharmacy in Spokane, Wash.


Where are you on the pharmacy ownership path?

I actually became an owner in October 2013, five months after graduating from pharmacy school, when I purchased Sixth Avenue Medical Pharmacy from its original owner. In February of 2015, I completed a buyout of a second pharmacy and now serve that pharmacy’s patients from our Sixth Avenue Medical Pharmacy location.

What has been the biggest hurdle in your journey so far?

The biggest hurdle by far has been learning to manage people, understanding different people’s work styles and personalities. Learning how to lead and manage a team to get goals accomplished is a daily learning experience for me. They don’t really teach you personnel management in pharmacy school, so it been trial-by-fire for me. Learning the proper steps for handling tough employee situations makes for some quick learning!

Do you have any advice for other pharmacy students who are considering ownership?

Don’t be scared; anyone with motivation can be a pharmacy owner. Just surround yourself with a good network of mentors to bounce ideas off of, and most of all, have fun. Ownership is a lot of work, but ultimately it will all pay off.