Find Solace at this Philadelphia Pharmacy and Wellness Shop

Few things excite me more than opportunities to share about the good things in life. The people, places, or things that inspire us, uplift us, motivate us, carry us and support us. In our everyday work at Inner Strength Education, we often refer to our tools and programs as a way to find peace, strength, light, and…solace. For the February newsletter, I could not be prouder to introduce you to the most literal iteration of solace and wellness that I have ever witnessed. 

Our featured partner this month is Sōlace Pharmacy & Wellness Shop, located in the Fairmount neighborhood here in Philadelphia. Sōlace is the kind of place that you walk into and immediately know that it’s something special. Black-owned and operated by Marcus Patterson and Jamaal Garnett, this shop goes above and beyond to empower, strengthen, and support communities in ways that go far beyond a traditional pharmacy. In fact, Inner Strength youth have been recipients of Sōlace’s generosity in the form of donations of critical hygiene and basic needs supplies to one of our classrooms at a partner high school. Last week I sat down to chat with Marcus and Jamaal to hear their story.

“Alyson: -What inspired you to open Sōlace and how did you come up with the name? What services do you offer?

Marcus Patterson: The inspiration came from a long held desire to be a business owner since I became a pharmacist in 2008, but the opportunity didn’t present itself until moving to Philadelphia. The word “solace” means to find comfort or healing in a time of distress or sadness. The macron, or line above the letter ‘o’ serves two purposes: to distinguish the pronunciation of the pharmacy name while also referencing the Latin word for sun. I wanted to create a space where everyone felt comfortable so that the moment they stepped in, their healing started. In addition to offering traditional pharmacy services such as prescriptions, medical supplies, vaccines, prescription compounding and blister packaging, we offer natural remedies such as essential oils and homeopathic medicines. We also recently began offering talking prescription labels for our visually impaired
customers, which is very exciting.”

[Sōlace is] uniquely positioned to impact the health and wellbeing of so many different people from all walks of life. We have customers who are nationally known, and we have customers who were recently released from incarceration. We have realized the pharmacy is so much bigger than prescriptions; it represents an important connection point between health and everyday people.

Alyson: How did you learn about Inner Strength Education?

Jamaal Garnett: We first learned about it through [you], and then looked at the website to see all of the important and innovative work Inner Strength does to help our youth. We’re excited to be even a small part of that.

Alyson: Sōlace is Black-owned and operated. I imagine that inspires and

empowers a lot of people in the Black community. Has that been your experience and can you share a little bit about that?

MP: A lot of our Black customers are long-time residents of this neighborhood, and they’ve seen it change rapidly, particularly in the last few years. They’ve told us they find it reassuring to see at least one of the essential businesses in the neighborhood as Black-owned. 

JG: We’ve also found that, for many of the older residents, this is the first time they’ve felt like they were treated with respect and value in a pharmacy setting. I think we serve as an example for how things should be, which is hard to know sometimes until you experience it. It’s particularly important to us that we carry items for customers that have difficulty leaving their homes, so [through our delivery service] we can help them as much as we can.

Alyson: For Black youth who may want to become entrepreneurs, what is some advice that you want to share with them?

MP and JG: Perseverance – you will hear a lot of NOs before you hear the YES. Being a business owner presents a lot of challenges, and it is how you approach those challenges that will determine how you can grow as a business owner. Prepare yourself with the necessary skills in whatever industry you want to enter. Lastly, believe your dream is worth it because if you don’t, it’ll be easy to give up. Seek out the resources, books, and education available for you to get started.”

ISE is proud to partner with Sōlace Pharmacy & Wellness Shop and we look forward to additional collaboration opportunities in the future! You can find Marcus and Jamaal at 1526 Ridge Avenue, 1st floor, Philadelphia, PA 19130.

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