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Kris Thorkelson is a Winnipeg-based entrepreneur who has enjoyed a twenty-plus year career as a successful business leader. Over the span of his career, Kris has led businesses, primarily in the retail pharmacy space, including leading Canada Drugs, an online pharmacy that helped millions of patients gain access to the competitive prices on brand and generic medications. Kris Thorkelson is also the owner of My Place Realty (MPR), a Winnipeg property management company dedicated to helping renters find quality multi-family homes in and around Winnipeg.
Q: From your experience in your career, how do you think technology has changed the retail pharmacy landscape? What do you think have been the most prominent or significant changes?
A: Access to information has allowed the role of the pharmacist to develop from the much more technical role it played years ago to being an information resource for patients. The breadth of knowledge that pharmacists now have and have ready access to is really quite phenomenal.
Q: Where do you see the future of retail pharmacy going? And how has the emerging online market for prescription drugs changed how brick and mortar locations are conducting business day to day?
A: Whether pharmacists like it or not, pharmacy will eventually turn into a fully online system. All medications can be fairly easily delivered to a patient’s door. The pharmacist will still be required to counsel patients, monitor therapy, interact with prescribers, monitor drug interactions and other higher level function. The pharmacists will eventually not be involved in the actual physical distribution of the product. Naturally, checks and balances will need to be put in place to prevent abuse and demand accuracy in all medication delivery. Brick and mortar pharmacies will eventually not be required to access the actual prescribed medication.
Q: As a business owner and entrepreneur, what do you think would be a positive way to integrate new technologies into your operations and management?
A: By using perpetual inventory systems to control inventory and minimize product expiry and reduce overall inventory cost. Technology can be used to facilitate reminders for patients to take their medications at the appropriate times and also to order their medication refills at appropriate times so that they do not run out of their medications.
Q: What made you decide to make the transition into real estate? What qualities of the real estate industry excited you most?
A: I very much enjoy the secure feeling of owning real estate. It is an investment type that is very stable and not subject to the ups and downs of other investments. Additionally, it is a very hands on business that I enjoy tremendously. As a property management company we give homes to so many people. It is very rewarding to see happy tenants who truly appreciate us as landlords.
Q: How has your experience in the retail pharmacy area compared to your experience in real estate? Are there similarities between how technology has changed the real estate and pharmacy industries?
A: Retail pharmacy and property management have both become very reliant on technology in different ways. Now, maintenance requests for the properties are done online and maintenance work is tracked on smartphones by maintenance staff. All of our construction staff use smartphones in some way for their work. It seems that everyone in the organization uses technology – it is almost impossible to find a job now that doesn’t.
Q: Where do you see the future of the rental real estate sector heading? How is the rental sector adapting to market and technological changes?
A: The online marketing of rental apartments is really changing the industry. Online ratings and reviews are now consulted by prospective tenants very regularly. As a property owner and manager it is extremely important to provide quality service to your tenants. In the past, it was very hard for new tenants to find out what the service was like in a certain apartment building. Now it is quite simple to see property ratings. This is changing the sector. Some owners are changing and others are falling behind.
Q: What can we expect from My Place Realty in the future?
A: All properties will be fully renovated and we will provide top notch service for all tenants.Activate Social Media: