25 Oct Be surprised by the largest pharmacy in Europe
Be surprised by the largest pharmacy in Europe
(Arch. Igor Ravasio - branch manager of Sartoretto Verna Torino)
This is the story of a man who always smiles, who doesn’t take himself too seriously, who likes the good life, drinking wine, and having fun.
He lets himself want for nothing and when it comes to innovating, he jumps in a car, plane or train catapulting himself across the world with great curiosity.
This is a true story about a pharmacist who became a pharmacy owner just 5 years ago and who today manages the largest pharmacy in Europe in Esch Sur Alzette in Luxemburg. Read his unprecedented incredible story.
We met for the first time along with my wife in Turin in 2014 at the Sartoretto Verna offices in Via Conte Gianbattista Bogino 13 and I immediately thought: “they are 2 visionaries, sent to test Sartoretto Verna’s ability to go beyond”… I wasn’t wrong.
Do you want to know how Dr Benoit Stouffs, the pharmacy owner became one of the most famous homeopaths in Europe, realizing his professional dream? Keep reading!
Chapter 1 – 2014 – the first pharmacy
“The Flower of Life”
Two pharmacies were built, and the first was supposed to be in a new neighborhood, inside a temporary container.
The initial agreements with the municipality were that the opening to take place on a maximum surface of 180 square meters. With great perseverance Dr. Stouffs convinced the administration of the benefits of placing the container somewhere else.
He also managed to obtain (for the first time in Luxembourg), the authorization to create a “Pharma-Drive” (like McDonalds’ Mc Drive where you can order from the comfort of your car, Pharma-Drive is the same concept but applied to the pharmacy!)
Then followed grueling months of questions and answers with the authorities yet Dr. Stouffs had only one ambitious goal in mind: to create a magical place for everyone to believe in …
He convinced us, during the long authorization process, that a solution could always be found for every brilliant idea shared.
With this spirit in 2014, he inaugurated the first Fleur De Vie Pharmacy.
Here, in a small office, he received his clients by appointment.
For the logo we took inspiration from the “flower of life” (in French “Fleur de Vie”), a symbol of rebirth, joy and hope.
The design took inspiration from China (the huge copper wind chime at the entrance to which homeopathy and the concept of “primum non nocere”, the cornerstone of homeopathy, owes a lot).
Everything contributed to the explosion of this pharmacy. From its earliest days, a continuous process of growth began which in only 3 years led the company to triple their expectations, becoming the second largest pharmacy in terms of turnover in Luxembourg!
With Sartoretto Verna we were able to bring our mission to life: to create a space with a unique design, that was extremely communicative and recognizable. It was an incredible success!
The liberty green of the ceilings evoked the Victorian era, restoring a sense of freshness.
The curves of Sartoretto Verna’s ®️Ral System mirrored the petals of the “Fleur de vie”, creating pathways that enveloped and entertained the customers, leading them towards the pharmacists at the counter.
The automation system was “dramatized” and became a kid’s corner where they could color in stylized “Flowers of life” and then attach them magnetically.
Dr. Benoit’s magical dream was coming true…and fast!
In addition to the amazing experience that this pharmacy offered, new efficient initiatives came about such as:
● brand products
● joint ventures
● inbound marketing policies
… all in a container,
… all in a temporary space that, right from the start, we knew would be just one milestone on route…
… after just 5 years it was time to get back in the game.
”Are you ready to demolish it all?!”
I still remember Dr Stouffs on the phone…
“We have been given permission to relocate to a 140 square meter space!
They still don’t fully understand my objective! It could never carry on in such a small space!
Dear Igor, tell Sartoretto Verna to get ready because we are going to go even further this time: the new pharmacy will be at least 1000 square meters”!
And here we are again!
Sartoretto Verna and a visionary pharmacist are together again to start a new chapter.
It was May 2017 and we met at our stand at Cosmofarma in Bologna. Stouffs was leaving for a trip to one of the most important steampunk locations in Europe (I’ll explain why later)
When he returned he said: “I’ve done everything and I’m ready to start again”
He was ready to share new ideas with us and elaborate what was to become the new revolutionary concept. He was dying to start his magic again.
The new location was 1,200 square meters, in an area decentralized from its current one…
Now it was our turn.
Chapter 2 – 2018 – the second pharmacy
“Let yourself be guided and surprised…”
“Let yourself be guided and surprised…” With this phrase at the entrance, the customer path of the new pharmacy begins.
At the end of 2018: the “container” pharmacy was the largest and most innovative in Europe.
There are a multitude of concepts and innovations inside and they are part of Dr Stouffs personal idea of “all round health” in which nature and sacred geometry are fused, esotericism and spiritual energies of the Victorian era, to be precise, steampunk.
The Steampunk Health center
“Come in and let yourself be guided and surprised”, you will find 1200 square meters of health from a pharmacy, to a blood analysis center, massage rooms and more…
As soon as you go up the stairs or in the panoramic lift (the pharmacy is on the first floor), you might be surprised to find an invitation to leave your phone charging so that you can “… be free of time and space …”
A curved led wall almost 4×3 meters (the first in the world installed in a pharmacy thanks to the partnership with Farmasì) will guide you to the entrance with its welcome desk where you will find a new vibrating queuebuster and a pharmacist ready to direct you.
The reception area was created with the sophistication of the new Sartoretto Verna ®Ral System 6 furnishing system, in the color mauve.
The 60 square meter transparent dome is hard to miss. It is made with the proportions of geodesic domes, which can be traced back to sacred geometry (the basis of the concepts of rebirth).
Inside you can go to conferences, or yoga classes for the spirit: the most important element to keeping healthy.
The courses which are always full are by subscription only and are often linked to specific consultations including:
● Acupuncture (with Raoul Giannuzzi, the last Lapunti Grand Master left in the world)
● Osteopathy (with the renowned osteopath Jo Buekens),
● Nutritional consultations
Behind the dome, 2 rotating rocking chairs give space for relaxation, sparking interest, even for the little ones.
The pharmacy then continues with a huge assortment of typical products.
The ®️Ral System 2 furnishings of the old pharmacy have all been reused and upgraded with the latest technologies.
®️Ral System 8 displays with white led-lined shelves have been inserted on the lateral walls to enhance the lighting of the products as well as 3d wave shaped plexiglass visuals.
There are 15 stations at the counter, all fitted with the existing robots plus a second one that is double in size.
At the center, 4 petal-shaped rooms from the flower of life are available for a wide range of consultations.
They have been named after the 4 elements (earth, wind, water and fire) and are represented by their relative geometric shapes.
Again at the center you will find a POP UP area showcasing the latest product lines which through the resin fleur de vie on the floor, are charged with positive energy and are then moved onto the shelves.
Another 4 side rooms provide additional space for specific purposes such as
● generic self-analysis
In front are 2 additional led wall screens that display the values and mission of the pharmacy.
The prescriptions counter have curved glass that mimic petals and provide privacy for more delicate and quick sales.
At the back you can see the curved roof of the corridor with a rust corten finish, that connects the analysis and massage areas. The stone on the walls is backlit and has dreamlike qualities.
Behind the counters there are two labs, one galenic and the other homeopathic.
The latter has been set up to be able to contain an automatic blistering system, the next investment.
Dr. Stouffs does not want to adhere to classic medicinal distribution systems (because this would mean being part of large groups that organize their work by dividing up the market for obvious reasons)
Furthermore, this pharmacy provides specific services to old people in care homes.
The Fleur de Vie pharmacy wants to shift its focus to families that have people in comes and provide them directly with a personalised and human service, that provides more than just the medicine and that will inevitably widen the circle.
The latest innovation to be found in this pharmacy is called KARDEX. It is a robotic stock optimization structure typically found in hardware stores.
You will see that this pharmacy has greater number of references than the average of European pharmacy which is why we thought to integrate such a stocking system to the back-office and pharmacy management. It is the first Kardex to be installed in a pharmacy.
The doctor’s office is also worth a visit, a decompression space for patients who have homeopathic consultations.
The waiting area sports a round table in front of a wall where the spiritual and natural laws that govern the world are displayed.
The two gold energy pyramids represent Egyptian Cheops, which starts from the Fibonacci Sequence.
A huge bookshelf divides the office from the rest of the pharmacy and hides a secret. An invisible door that leads to an area filled with esoteric/onirica literature that not everyone has access to, only those who are ready. It is the alchemist’s literary corner where you can speak of potions and the history of pharmaceuticals.
An important reference to the communicative reading key is a must.
The city where this pharmacy is located is called Esch-Sur-Alzette and it was one of the most important European steel plants, chosen for the 2022 european capital of Culture together Kaunas in Poland.
The goal was to find a link between the land and the fleur de vie and the result lies in the very energy that both give off: a powerful, primordial, destructive and fiery energy that distilled through the petals of the Flower of Life.
There is a transition between the two that represents the transition from illness to healing through self-care.
This dichotomy is summarized at the entrance with the curved mechanism and the flower of life on transparent glass, as well as:
- the backlit sheets with images of the blast furnaces at the entrance that fade towards the prescriptions counter with soothing colors.
- in the green iron liberty arches typical of iron and steel architecture that break down the pathway until they converge into a huge Fleur De vie on the ceiling right above the pharmacist.
- in the tiles that evoke blast furnaces and that change color as they go towards the counters
- In the categories that start from terminology that is related to care right up to the last ®Ral System 8 display near the doctor’s office with the word “healing” (and in the sentence that defines healing “a marvel we discover by chance along a journey”)
The style is Victorian steampunk with a steam train and all of its esoteric references typical of the era.
They are very particular concepts, unique and difficult to use elsewhere.
This pharmacy represents the essence, thoughts and beliefs of an extraordinary pharmacist in a careful and almost maniacal way.
We wanted to tell this story because it is a success. The pharmacy brings in 10 times more profits than before the move.
This story tells, with extraordinary strength, the concrete results achieved by an enlightened pharmacist, who decides to:
- See what a pharmacy does in a different way
- Talk about their entrepreneurial plan in the pharmacy, playing the game with a fresh analysis of the pharmacist-patient relationship
- See themselves as a professional who can make a difference by providing spaces that are designed to build return customers and inspire emotion
- Guarantee customers a unique experience.
This is how restructuring can really make a difference. Only with a long-term view will it be possible for the pharmacy today to get out of the price war and gain full control of its business.
Are you interested in getting to the details of your refurbishment with Sartoretto Verna and bring success to your business?