17 Nov
Driver Eric Mlaba with original owner Gerard Viger, during a recent visit to KwaZulu-Natal.

National Road Pharmacy is set to be reborn as Thrive, continuing a near 60-year tradition of professional advice and personal service, but with a renewed focus on wellbeing

Story Hayley Dennyson

When Gerard Viger opened the pharmacy in 1959, it was with a vision of a community hub, offering healthcare and exceptional service. During his time as owner, he gathered a strong team of pharmacists and assistants who he called “his girls”, and who fulfilled that vision of providing more than just a medical dispensary.

In the early days, pharmacy staff would ride bicycles to clients’ homes around Kloof and Winston Park, taking orders in the morning and delivering prescriptions in the afternoon. “Very few homes had telephones back then,” Gerard recalls.

Eric Mlaba has worked at National Road Pharmacy as driver since 1971. “National Road is like my home,” he says. “Mr Viger taught me how to drive – first a motorbike and then a car – and I’ve been delivering to our customers since then.”

“We treated the same families for decades,” says Mr Viger. “We saw children grow up, move away and then come back with their own little ones. We became friends.” Even though Gerard now lives in the Cape, he pops in to the pharmacy whenever he is in Durban.

One of those children who came into the pharmacy was Lynda Bryant-Mutsaerts, who became its owner in 2005. Over the past 11 years, Lynda and her team have grown the pharmacy and its facilities, and their efforts have not gone unnoticed. Some of their accolades include 2009 Nedbank Professional Business Woman of the Year (KZN and then SA), 2009 Pharmacist of the Year by the SA Pharmacy Council, and 2013 Best Community Pharmacy in South Africa and Best Pharmacy Facility in SA.

“Lynda has progressive ideas and a personal approach, no matter the circumstances,” Gerard continues. “My dream came true when we were able to open a clinic, but Lynda has grown it to five times the size.”

Services include advice on healthcare, wound treatment, basic diagnostics, baby clinic, vaccinations, blister packs to simplify the administration of medication in old age homes and, now, an even more holistic approach to healthcare.

“We are so excited to have undergone renovations and to be able to launch a fresh new brand, name and product offering on October 29,” says Lynda. “We knew that we had to keep meeting the growing needs of our community’s health, so we considered what we can do to keep our patients better than well. Our research led us to believe that our community is looking for an integrated health offering, which can provide our patients the opportunity to lead well-balanced lives through a combination of traditional pharmaceutical care, wellness treatments, nutrition, supplementation and alternative health options.

“Thrive (our new identity) reflects our overall approach to health and wellness. True health is about sustainability and adaptability in every way, from the individual we serve to the environment we work in. That is why we are individual-focused, rather than product-focused. Our aim is to be a niche provider of quality products that have been carefully selected based on thorough research, while providing excellent customer service, convenience and professional guidance.

“Our focus is on uplifting all members of the community, including staff, suppliers, customers and fellow clinicians. We are aiming to make our community better than well.” *

To experience the new look and feel for yourself, visit Thrive 1 Natalia Way, Charles Terrace, Kloof (near Maytime). 031 764 0311


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