In July 2011, Juan M. Ortiz was promoted to chief executive of Navarro Discount Pharmacy, where he has been focusing on executing the company’s expansion plan, identifying new revenue streams and increasing profitability.
Ortiz joined the company as chief financial officer in 2008, after serving as chief executive of Atlantic Dental, a portfolio company of MBF Healthcare Partners, Navarro’s majority owner. Ortiz successfully grew Atlantic Dental and sold it in 2008.
To learn more about Navarro’s aggressive growth strategy, we asked Ortiz a variety of questions, to which he responded via email. Here are his responses, edited for space.
Q. Please tell me about the ownership background of Navarro, from its inception to today.
The Navarro family opened its first pharmacy in Havana in 1940, which became a staple in the local community. The family soon opened a second store and the business gained a reputation for being among the best on the island offering a large assortment of products catering to the health and wellness of customers.
In 1961, after the Castro regime confiscated the stores, the Navarro family moved to the United States and opened the first Navarro Discount Pharmacy in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana, a location that allowed the company to mix its culture and diversity of products with a new and expanding market. Over the next 45 years, the Navarro family grew the business to a chain of 20 retail pharmacies around South Florida.
In 2007, MBF Healthcare Partners, headed by its Chairman, Miguel B. “Mike” Fernandez, purchased majority ownership of Navarro Discount Pharmacy with the vision of growing the business to the next level. Since 2007, the company has expanded its retail pharmacy stores to 33 locations around South Florida, has a rapidly growing specialty pharmacy division, launched the first multiple category bilingual brand (Vida Mia) in the U.S., and expanded its ancillary businesses including its wholesale and export division.
Today, Navarro Discount Pharmacy is the largest Hispanic-owned and Hispanic-focused retail drug chain in the U.S.
Despite its success, the company still considers itself a community pharmacy focused on customer service and providing its customers with a large assortment of products at great values. Navarro Discount Pharmacy remains committed to improving the health and wellness of the families it serves.
Q.. Please tell me about your own background and how you got involved in Navarro?
A. I originally joined Navarro Discount Pharmacy as its CFO in August 2008, having been specifically recruited because of my expertise with complex businesses and operations. I was promoted to CEO in July 2011 after successfully turning the company around financially. Since taking over as CEO, I have focused on execution of our expansion plan, identified new revenue streams and increased profitability. Prior to Navarro, I was CEO at Atlantic Dental, Inc., a $40 million dental health provider that worked closely with health care plan providers and the State of Florida. As CEO, I successfully grew the business which was sold in 2008.
Q. What is the company’s overall strategy in targeting the Hispanic market?
Navarro Discount Pharmacy caters to the broad Hispanic market with a great value proposition on a very large assortment of products and services that are not found in traditional drugstore chains such as wireless phones, designer fragrances and a wide variety of ethnic products. As a community pharmacy, we constantly emphasize that nothing is more important than serving our customers and patients.