College of Pharmacy alumnus owns, operates century-old business

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Name: Ryan Frerichs
Degree: PharmD (Pharmacy), '01
Occupation: Small business owner and pharmacist
Residence: Waverly, Iowa

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Waverly is in Bremer County, Iowa, which includes:

379 UI alumni
52 UI-educated teachers and school administrators
17 UI-educated physicians
9 UI-educated dentists
20 UI-educated pharmacists

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There’s no place like home. At least for Ryan and Kate Frerichs. Following the birth of their first child, the couple made the decision to leave behind their cozy Colorado abode and move back to Iowa, closer to family and long-held dreams of owning a pharmacy.

Just two short years later, RYKA Incorporated was born, an amalgamation of the duo’s names and talent. With the formation of the company came the purchase of Meyers Pharmacy, an iconic Waverly institution known for its friendly, knowledgeable service and extensive product selection.

For Ryan and Kate, it was the stone and mortar version of an aspiration that had begun more than a decade ago at the University of Iowa. Kate, earning her Bachelor of Science in Health Promotions, and Ryan, completing his PharmD, took a course that discussed career options in the pharmaceutical industry.

“That’s where the seed of independent ownership was planted,” says Ryan.

Ryan was first introduced to Meyers Pharmacy in 1998 as a young intern under the auspices of then-owner and UI alumnus Tom Taiber. It was here he learned firsthand the pitfalls and rewards of operating a small business.

The experience never quite left him, and even after years spent serving as a pharmacy manager for a national grocery store chain, he couldn’t shake the desire to own his own business.

“There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with working for yourself,” Ryan says. “You have the unique opportunity to form your own team, forge relationships, and provide employment for others.”

Now, with 40 full and part-time employees, Ryan and Kate work together to build relationships with community members and ensure that patients receive the care and attention they deserve.

Business is healthy and the pharmacy is celebrating 100 years of operation, milestones Ryan says are due in large part to an enduring work ethic, one he himself learned at the UI College of Pharmacy.

Did you know? More than half of all practicing pharmacists in Iowa are graduates of the UI College of Pharmacy, which has alumni practicing in 95 of Iowa’s 99 counties. The college boasts one of the select few High Throughput Screening facilities (drug discovery) in a college of pharmacy in the country. Additionally, it houses University of Iowa Pharmaceuticals, the most comprehensive university-based, FDA-registered drug manufacturing facility in the United States offering pre-clinical and commercial drug product services.

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