Success Story: West Virginia –
After a successful career as a pharmacist, Walter Moore should be playing a round of golf right about now. But you won’t find him on the greens, decked out in Titleist apparel and celebrating retirement with a victory cigar. Instead, he’ll go to work on Monday, put on his white coat and spend his morning filling prescriptions behind the counter at his pharmacy.
“I was retired for seven years and I would look back on my time as a pharmacist and see how much I took it for granted,” Moore, 70, said. “I’ve got a new outlook on life.”
For many, retirement is something to look forward to. After all, isn’t the American dream enjoying the fruits of your labor in your later years after a prosperous career? For Moore, retirement was pleasant, but ultimately felt hollow.
“You have to find something to do with your life. I just assume keep working and take chances,” Moore said. “I’m so grateful that I’m a pharmacist. I got tired of saying I used to be one. Now that I’m back, I really appreciate every customer who comes through the door. It’s been energizing to come back to work.”
With age comes experience
Moore opened a small pharmacy in St. Albans in 1984 and moved RxbyTel to Charleston’s West Side in 1997. When he retired in 2012, he had years of experience owning a small business and was an industry leader, helping pioneer innovative prescription filling methods. So, when he decided to come out of retirement and reopen his pharmacy earlier this year, he wasn’t starting from square one.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was scary,” he said. “But it’s exciting. We’re revisiting a lot of the things we did before I retired and finishing what we started.”
And it’s working for Moore. “Business is right at the projections we had coming into this,” he said. “We’re close to the break-even point and ready to start making a profit, which is a huge sense of relief knowing that chances of our survival as a business are growing.”
Moore says coming back to work has been invigorating and encourages others who may be thinking about starting a business to consider their life experiences.
“Older people like myself are usually more experienced. They’ve seen it all,” Moore said. “And when you’ve seen it all and know how to deal with life’s challenges, you have a good chance of being successful.”
Even a lifetime of experience doesn’t prepare you for the unexpected
When Moore decided to reopen his business, there were things that took him by surprise. Drafting a business plan? No problem. He’d done it. But a lot changed in the seven years he was retired. The way things were done in “the old days,” as Moore put it, aren’t how things are done today.
“I didn’t know where to go,” he said.
So, he turned to the West Virginia Small Business Development Center.
“They got me headed in the right direction and helped me get started with getting a business loan and finding the financing we needed,” he said.
Doug Spaulding was Moore’s SBDC business coach. The SBDC helps bring together the resources new business owners need and connects them with other agencies that can make a difference during the startup phase.
“We also brought in the West Virginia Economic Development Authority as another possible resource,” Spaulding said. “They were willing to do a portion of the loan at a low percentage rate. I also introduced them to the SBA loan guarantee. It all ultimately became a successful loan package for Walter, to enable him to get his pharmacy up and running once again.”
Moore is thankful for Doug’s guiding hand and the resources he’s been able to tap into by working with the WV SBDC.
“If you’re going to be a successful business owner, you have to connect with people with more experience than you,” he said. “A lot of people fail because they think they know it all and don’t seek out help.”
Moore’s advice for people who want to start a business, whether they’re a young entrepreneur or someone more experienced looking for a project later in life? Link up with a business coach.
“Go find one who is qualified and learn from them before you take the plunge. Sometimes, they know who to call and what to do, and even what not to do. If anything, it’s good to have someone to discuss strategies with. So, go ahead and do it and don’t forget to have a good time.”
For more about RxbyTel, visit rxbytel.com. The West Virginia Small Business Development Center supports small businesses through one-on-one coaching, training and facilitating connections to resources. Learn more about how a business coach can help your business by visiting wvsbdc.com. To find your nearest SBDC, click here.