A loan program is filling a longtime gap in a Fort Myers community, giving the go-ahead for a pharmacy in the area. The woman making it happen is no stranger to the area.
Not one, not two, not three, but four generations later, Pharmacist Shandreka McIntosh’s family still calls Dunbar home.
“I actually grew up in Palmetto, used to be Palmetto Court, which was a housing project, so I grew up in the projects,” McIntosh said.
McIntosh will be the owner and lead pharmacist of Sozo Wellness Pharmacy in Dunbar.
During McIntosh’s childhood, zero pharmacies were close by when her family needed it most.
“My maternal grandmother, she was a diabetic, and she pretty much suffered from every complication of the disease,” McIntosh said.
It’s been McIntosh’s mission to get lifesaving, life-changing drugs to Dunbar.
“Pharmacies and pharmacists are considered the most accessible health care professional,” McIntosh said.
With the help of the first-of-its-kind grant from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and Catalyst Community Capital, McIntosh’s dream is now a reality.
McIntosh told us this pharmacy will offer more than medicine to community members.
“We’ll also have like holistic products that you can purchase health and beauty items,” McIntosh said. “The focus will be to try to actually showcase local vendors as well with those products. Another aspect that we’ll be able to have is healthy food options.”
The hope is the pharmacy will open for business in two months.
“My mom, of course, she was a single mom, raised four kids by ourselves,” McIntosh said. “And pretty much everything I do and have always done, I’ve always thought about how can I make my mom proud?”
An earlier version of this story incorrectly states Sozo Wellness is Dunbar’s first pharmacy. The area’s first pharmacy was Edwin’s Pharmacy, owned by pharmacist Lewis Carter III. Carter, according to an obituary, was Fort Myers’ first Black pharmacist. He went on to work for Eckerds after his Dunbar pharmacy closed.