Claremont Pharmacy ready to serve at Peppertree Square

The revitalization of the Peppertree Square shopping center continues with the addition of Claremont Pharmacy. The pharmacy, located at 358 S. Indian Hill Blvd., celebrated its grand opening this past Sunday.

The business is run by owner and pharmacist Nikki Ho. She previously worked as a pharmacist at Rite Aid, all the while saving money to open her own business. “This has always been my dream since pharmacy school,” she said.

Ms. Ho attended Cal State Fullerton where she started as a business major. Before long, she followed her true interest, science, and changed course. She ended up graduating with a dual major in biochemistry and organic chemistry.

The products carried at the pharmacy are similar to those found at many pharmacies.

“The difference is in service,” she said. “When a customer walks in, you know them. You know their name, their profile and their needs. We also do compounding and have more of a focus on natural products and natural health.”

Compounding is when a licensed pharmacist combines drug ingredients to create a medication tailored to a patient’s individual needs. This skill comes into play with the natural hormonal replacement therapy that Ms. Ho provides for clients.

When a woman is in menopause, approaching menopause or simply out of hormonal balance, they generally have high estrogen levels but their bodies have trouble producing sufficient amounts of progesterone. “This can cause hot flashes, weight gain and depression,” Ms. Ho said.

Ms. Ho can give women a saliva testing kit and point them to a lab to analyze the specimen. The results can determine if a woman is, indeed, low in progesterone and reveal more about a woman’s particular hormonal makeup.

Many doctors prescribe menopausal women hormone replacement drugs like Premarine, which are made from horse urine. Ms. Ho, by contrast, can give women natural hormone replacements, which are synthesized to replicate the hormones of a human woman’s body.

When you come into Claremont Pharmacy, you can also purchase over-the-counter medicines, first aid supplies and a small selection of toiletries. Ms. Ho hopes to add more sundries in the future, things like hairbrushes and makeup.

For now, her shop is airy and spacious. It’s currently marked by the presence of some two-dozen plants, many of them flowering orchids. At first glance, it would seem that she is operating as an ersatz florist. In fact, the floral abundance is the result of gifts from friends and family wishing Ms. Ho luck as she embarks on an exciting new career path.

She does plan, however, to engage in a dual enterprise before long. Ms. Ho has applied for and been approved to operate as a fully functioning post office. It may be three months or so before she is up and running, but she looks forward to providing an alternative to the busy post office on Harvard Avenue.

“When I go to the post office down the street in the Village, it’s always packed—you always have to wait a long time. I thought it would be convenient to come in here without looking for parking,” she said. “Also, it will bring more customers into the center and more into the store, bringing more exposure.”

Outside of business, family is Ms. Ho’s most important concern. She is married to Martin Bui, who is also a pharmacist working for Kaiser Hospital. They have two children, a 4-year-old daughter named Joelle and a 2-year-old son named Jayson. They live in Montclair, just a seven-minute drive to the pharmacy.

Her mother Phuong Nguyen, who lives in Orange County, is proud of Ms. Ho and has lent her moral support. When they have time, Ms. Ho’s two older brothers and one younger sister help out with the pharmacy.

Ms. Ho first became acquainted with the City of Trees when she graduated from pharmacy school in 2012 and had a six-week internship at Hendrick’s Pharmacy. “I love the city,” she said. “Everyone is friendly and it’s a good place to develop a business. I feel I can serve this community.”

A couple of ways she can serve the community are by providing vaccinations and free delivery to seniors. “I always wanted to do this,” Ms. Ho, 32, said.

There is one more service Ms. Ho will provide to the community. Born in Vietnam, she came to the United States in 1993 when she was 9 years old. Her background qualifies her to recommend her favorite local Vietnamese restaurant.

“I like Pho Ha,” she said, referring to an eatery located on Indian Hill Boulevard in Pomona. “They’ve got good pho [a Vietnamese soup with meat and noodles] and a good selection. It’s also very clean. They just remodeled.” 

Hours for the brand-new Claremont Pharmacy are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

—Sarah Torribio


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