MOUNTAIN BROOK – Ralph and Rebecca Sorrell, pharmacists and co-owners of Ritch’s Pharmacy in Mountain Brook, are Alabama’s Bronze Retailers of the Year in the Annual Sales More Than $5 Million category.
Ritch’s Pharmacy is one of 11 retail businesses statewide, and the only pharmacy, honored this year by the Alabama Retail Association as a Retailer of the Year. “Ritch’s Pharmacy has been serving the people of our community since 1947 and to be named as one of the 2021 Retailer of the Year recipients is a tremendous honor,” the Sorrells said today in accepting the award. “We have a good team at Ritch’s Pharmacy, and we can only do what we do because every member gives their all to serving others. Our team dispenses not only medications, but professional personal service that we strive to give to everyone who walks through our door.”
Ralph Sorrell began working as a pharmacist at Ritch’s Pharmacy in 1986. Since 1997, he and his wife and fellow pharmacist, Rebecca, have been co-owners. Ritch’s Pharmacy’s mission to provide the highest level of service and quality has been especially evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the pharmacy has always offered free home delivery, it doubled its delivery staff and added a vehicle in 2020. Having an already established cellphone app allowed the pharmacy to better manage the number of calls it received related to the virus and vaccinations.
“Ritch’s Pharmacy was one of only three community pharmacies in the state selected by the Alabama Department of Public Health to initially provide the COVID-19 vaccine,” the honorees said in their Retailer of the Year entry. That community pharmacy connection made a difference. “So many patients told us that they were relieved by being able to talk with a healthcare provider as opposed to simply registering on a website,” Ralph Sorrell said. In addition to administering the vaccine in store, in August of this year, the pharmacy arranged to offer vaccines at local restaurants for the convenience of the restaurants’ workers.
Ritch’s Pharmacy is also important to its industry. Ralph Sorrell served as president of the Alabama Board of Pharmacy in 2020 and served as the at-large board member from 2016 through 2020. The Alabama Pharmacy Association inducted Ralph into the Alabama Pharmacy Hall of Fame in 2020, and, in June of this year, the association awarded Rebecca Sorrell its Bowl of Hygeia award for commitment to community and those most in need. She specializes in health screenings and immunizations.
“Combined, Ritch’s Pharmacy’s pharmacists have over 100 years of experience and their friendly staff will treat you like family,” said Suzan Doidge, executive director of the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce, who nominated Sorrells for the award.
In a letter of support for the business being named a Retailer of the Year, Tim Hamrick, chief executive officer of American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc., said, “Ritch’s Pharmacy has established itself as the epitome of what a locally owned and operated business should be. Ritch’s knows their patients, their families and their health histories.
The Retailer of the Year judges noted the extra lengths the pharmacy pursued to administer COVID-19 immunizations — extending hours and opening on Sundays during the initial push.
The Alabama Retailer of the Year awards, started in 1999, honor retailers who have demonstrated growth, innovation and a commitment to their respective communities. This year’s winners were selected from 49 entries submitted from a pool of 80 nominees.
“Ralph and Becky Sorrell are retailers of the year EVERY year to Ritch’s customers, their 12 employees and the Mountain Brook, Homewood, and Vestavia Hills communities,” said Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown.
The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,200 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.