Q-and-A with Green Line Apothecary
Pharmacist Christina Procaccianti brings her Wakefield pharmacy back to its roots with top-notch health care and a soda fountain.
Christina Procaccianti, pharmacist and owner of Green Line Apothecary in Wakefield, creates a personal and more enjoyable experience for customers who are picking up or dropping off refills at the pharmacy. She believes that medicine is personal and that people should be able to visit her shop and feel good when they leave. Plus, there is no better way to wait for a prescription than sipping a root beer float.
What made you want to become a pharmacist?
It is kind of a serendipitous story. My father was a greeting card salesman and his sales territory was in independent pharmacies. As a child, I always had a part-time job doing the same, where I would change out the cards at the pharmacies according to the holiday. I found myself in and around all of these mom and pop [pharmacies] and just fell in love with it.
Why an apothecary?
I fancy myself a scientist and knew I always wanted to get into medicine, so opening an independent pharmacy was always just a natural fit for me. There are so many things you can do as a pharmacist including working for a big retail company or big hospitals, which, I was lucky enough to experience, but the heart and soul of pharmacy for me has always been independent [pharmacy.] This is me trying to practice pharmacy at its roots and bring it back to what its original intentions were.
What is the meaning behind the name of the business?
It’s a really cute story. My husband and I met on the green line on the subway in Boston and it’s in that same spot that he proposed to me years later. We actually didn’t even exchange names on the train that first time; we just happened to physically bump into each other on campus a few days later. When he proposed, it was around the time when flash mobs were a big thing in the city – we were taking the green line home one day – and I step out of a car and a crowd of people were standing on the platform with newspapers covering their faces. It turns out that they were our families and right there, he proposed.
Wow! What a personal and fun story.
Yes! This business is so personal for us. You truly pour your blood, sweat and tears into something like this. It is a twenty-four-seven, completely family-owned and operated business. It was in that spirit that there was no other more personal name than in the way in which we met. It is all a labor of love.
So, why a soda fountain inside your apothecary?
Soda fountains were essentially born in pharmacies and most sodas were created by pharmacists. So, by having it in here, we are taking the business back to its roots. The younger generation may not understand how the two go together, but if you meet someone older, they actually remember the days when it was unusual for a pharmacy to not have a soda fountain inside. At the time, tonic water was believed to have specific purposes and pharmacists were making a lot of medication by hand. The idea was “how can we make medication more palpable?” Soda syrups were born. For example, Coca Cola was originally created for medicinal purposes (to treat gastrointestinal issues) and fun fact, orange soda was actually created in a pharmacy in Newport! We have really tried to recreate an authentic soda fountain experience and feature ice cream in a unique way.
What types of ingredients do you use at the soda fountain?
The sodas are made from cane sugar, have no dye and nothing artificial in them and are as close as possible to the original recipes of what soda was originally intended to be. We then add fun things to them like ice cream!
What makes your shop different, besides the soda fountain, from big chain pharmacies?
We do everything the big chains do, but we have created a more personal and enjoyable experience. It’s hard to think back to a time when you were ever at a pharmacy where you were sick and tired but happy to be there. Nobody actually says, “hey, I am going to head to the pharmacy today,” and enjoys it. We are trying to change that for people. Medicine is so personal and people should be able to come here and feel good when they leave. Dare I say we are trying to add some ‘whimsy’ to the experience. Plus, there is no better way to wait for a prescription than sipping on a root beer float.
What can customers expect when using your apothecary?
We are a full-service pharmacy that takes all insurances. We carry a lot of natural herbal products, as it is an area of medicine that I am versed and very comfortable in. When you come here, not only are you getting top service, personalized care and expert advice on your prescription products, but we are knowledgeable about natural products and can guide customers in that too. If someone needed something off the shelf, I give them guidance on their choices.