Sharing Stories of Everyday Good

Video Length: 2:12 Minutes

This friendly pharmacy is the heart of a rural Maine community

Before pharmacist Ben Okafor moved to Eastport, Maine, residents had to drive more than 30 miles to get their medications. "One of the difficult things about living in this area," notes an Eastport resident, "is that we are remote and that everything is so far away."

Originally from Nigeria, Ben worked as a pharmacist in London before he was recruited to work in Maine. Driven to open his own pharmacy to support a small community with limited access to health care, Ben leased a 750-square-foot space to fill a need in this rural coastal town. The opening of the pharmacy in 2014 enabled local residents to have access to the medicine that they needed, when previously the nearest pharmacy was more than an hour away.

Pharmacist Ben Okafor knows every customer by name. Pharmacist Ben Okafor knows every customer by name. (Photo: Gabe Souza)

Committed to providing better service to his customers, Ben purchased and renovated a building right next door to the local health clinic two years ago. As a result, he doubled the size of his operation, and installed a drive-up window, a popular feature with residents. The pharmacy also offers free home deliveries within 25 miles.

One of the benefits of living in a small town means knowing every costumer by name. "My customers...are so welcoming," Ben says. "Being a guy from Africa, coming up here, in Eastport, Maine, that's what made me stay around. I like this area and I like the people."

For more than three years, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) has been a business advisor to Ben Okafor, helping him to launch and grow the Eastport Family Pharmacy. CEI helps to grow good jobs, environmentally sustainable enterprises, and shared prosperity in Maine and in rural regions across the country by integrating financing, business and industry expertise, and policy solutions.

Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) helps to grow good jobs, environmentally sustainable enterprises, and shared prosperity in Maine and in rural regions across the country by integrating financing, business and industry expertise, and policy solutions.

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