DeKALB – Having a deep rooted interest in women's health is a family affair for Lehan Drugs vice president of sales and marketing DJ Larson.
Larson's mother, Lehan Drugs manager Terri Hettel, started the women's section at the DeKalb pharmacy in 2004 after Hettel's grandmother died of breast cancer. Larson has continued the family tradition in women's health and will be among 15 healthcare coaches featured at the Health on the National Mall educational event Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
"We'll talk to people walking by and invite all the senators to the booth and talk about what we're doing as a local business," Larson said.
Larson will sit at the booth among 2,800 local business owners at the event. His focus will be to talk about women's health. He also participated in a similar event last year in Seattle. However, this year, he hopes to take away some things that he can bring back to Lehan Drugs.
In past events, Larson has learned about other pharmacies offering free vitamins to children and selling breast pumps. He incorporated both concepts into Lehan Drugs after learning about what other pharmacies around the country were doing.
"I'm excited to find out what I can bring back to our community," he said.
Larson isn't the only one who is excited. Hettel said her son's networking skills help attract customers from all over the country, who make online purchases of products they may have trouble finding at other stores.
It also helps Hettel to have a son who is so dedicated to women's health issues.
"Women in general are more concerned about their health," she said. "There's no places at a retail level that takes care of women. Other than a spa, where can you go?"
Larson is the fourth generation at Lehan Drugs. His great-grandfather started the business in 1946. Last year, Larson was asked to serve on an advisory council for small business pharmacy owners.
Lehan Drugs was featured in America’s Pharmacist, a national pharmacy magazine, in 2011 for its women's health department. Nearly 2,000 square feet of the pharmacy is dedicated to women's health items such as bras and swimsuits, Larson said.
"I want women to come in and have the best experience they've ever had with health and tell them about us," he said. "If you can get to a point where you can get a patient telling everyone about you, you've done your job."