Achors doing the work for patients, students as hometown pharmacists

Kaley and Brandon Achor with their child Savannah, born in 2020. The Achors met as coworkers and have become notable pharmacists in their own right. (Image by Courtesy of Kaley Achor)

By Benjamin Waldrum

Pharmacy has truly been a labor of love for UAMS College of Pharmacy alumni Brandon Achor, who graduated on 2015 and 2017 for Kaley Scott Achor.

After all, how many couples can claim a community pharmacy as the place they got engaged?

The two met as co-workers at Argenta Drug Co. in North Little Rock, when he was about to start pharmacy school at UAMS. After he graduated and Kaley was still a student at UAMS, Brandon proposed — right outside Argenta Drug. They married in 2016. In 2020, they welcomed their first child, Savannah James Achor.

“You could say pharmacy has been a constant pillar of our relationship since day one,” she said. “We were such good friends at the time that we knew once we decided to start dating, we would be together forever.”

As UAMS students, both of them were heavily involved with events and student organizations, including the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA). Kaley Achor counts her two years on the APhA-ASP executive committee as her favorite memories as a student. The UAMS student chapter won Chapter of the Year both years at the APhA-ASP national meeting.

“We both have a very special place in our hearts for the UAMS College of Pharmacy,” she said. “It shaped us into who we are today, not just career-wise but personally and professionally.”

Since graduating, the Achors have become well-known pharmacists in their own right. They co-own 13 pharmacies across the state, including their “home store” of Achor Family Pharmacy in Maumelle. Opening the Maumelle location was special for them.

“When the opportunity arose in 2019 for us to start a pharmacy together in Maumelle, we knew that it was God calling us to our next step,” Kaley Achor said. “Our family motto is ‘Always Show Up,’ and we really want our patients to feel that we are always there for them as a whole, not just to provide them medications.”

They balance each other out as pharmacists: Brandon is the business-minded one while Kaley focuses more on patient services. “I throw out a million ideas, and he reels me into reality,” she said.

The Achors have shown up for their patients during the pandemic, opening a vaccination center to triage and allow for extended monitoring and counseling on the vaccine and disease. Though it was exhausting for the staff, it was a reminder of how unique and rewarding pharmacy can be.

Now things have come full circle, with the couple creating a scholarship at the college last year. It’s a way for them to give back to the place that has had a central role in their lives. They hope students who receive the scholarship will pursue a career in community pharmacy, as they have.

“We were both awarded scholarships during our time at the college,” Kaley Achor said. “We felt very fortunate to receive that financial aid and learn about the people who generously donated. We always knew we wanted to give back to the college, and with all God has blessed us with, we felt now was the perfect time to fund a scholarship.”

With all that pharmacy has given them, the couple continues to encourage others to follow the same path to a fulfilling career.

“To someone considering a career in pharmacy, I would say do it,” she said. “If you really love connecting with people and want to be able to use your knowledge and skills to meet the needs of others, pharmacy is a great career choice.”

  • Benjamin Waldrum writes for UAMS