Building a Community – Tarek Hussein

Our health means everything. For Tarek Hussein, founder and owner of Weller Pharmacy, everything is about health.

Tarek has worked in pharmacy and pharmaceuticals his entire career, from global pharmaceutical companies to local pharmacies, from undergraduate studies to his Doctor of Pharmacy. So when he says Weller Pharmacy offers the Kingston community the “best personalized pharmaceutical services in a welcoming, inclusive environment,” he knows what he’s talking about.

Weller is a case study in preparation meeting opportunity: with healthcare costs increasing and people’s health needs becoming more personalized, one-size-fits-all, big-box pharmacy stores aren’t the answer. Tarek is positioned right where the market is heading, operating a forward-thinking, ethically focused, community-first independent store designed to meet personal healthcare needs. Having also participated in developing an e-commerce solution that provides independents with the supply-chain scale of national pharmacy chain stores, he is architecting the next generation of pharmacy solutions.

“We created an online e-commerce platform designed specifically for independent pharmacies, which has been getting much attention lately. If patients are sitting at home and order items, they will be delivered the same day. Even if I don’t carry it on the shelf, we can still fulfil their request within 48 hours.”

Cairo was once home; now it is Kingston (since 2011). However, in 2006, after finishing his MBA at IE Business School in Spain, an epiphany struck when he realized he was more into entrepreneurial and community-focused work than corporate. It was a catalytic moment, sparking Tarek to direct his business and pharmacy know-how toward improving people’s health his way.

“When I first arrived in Kingston, I immediately felt connected to the city. The history, waterways, green spaces, and strong sense of community really stood out to me.”

Weller Pharmacy opened its doors as an independent pharmacy in 2015, an auspicious moment for Tarek. He had the expertise, location, supplier relationships, and community ties. Most importantly, he had the strategy. The gap was evident, including important concepts Tarek strongly advocates, such as “social prescribing,” which recognizes that a range of social, economic, and environmental factors influence health. Referring patients to non-medical services and community resources to improve their overall well-being is more community-maker than money-maker; Tarek sees this as a logical and ethical extension of the pharmacy business.

Tarek highlights that the Kingstonians’ sense of community and inclusion is fundamental. He notes the city’s welcoming nature, describing locals initiating casual conversations with newcomers in places like pharmacies or coffee shops. These interactions often begin with casual conversations, leading to offers of help or invitations to participate in various activities. He emphasizes that newcomers gradually become involved and integrated into the community through these interactions. His own community-oriented approach has led to the Kingston Chamber of Commerce (Chair) and KEYS Job Centre (Vice President and Board of Directors).

“The community wants you to get involved, participate, and showcase yourself and your business. Kingston allowed me to do what I do, and I am grateful to be recognized for it.”

Tarek’s success is based not only on know-how but also on community involvement. He has given, and Kingston has given back. His prescription is succinct when asked for advice for newcomers, with both community and newcomer in mind: “Love Kingston and Canada, and they will love you back.”

Congratulations to Tarek Hussein, winner of the Kingston Newcomer Entrepreneur Award.