Melody Savley has been immersed in the health care arena since she was 16 years old. Now, as the owner of Alps Pharmacy, Savley leads a team of 60 employees to serve up to 5,000 patients in southwest Missouri. When she’s not working with her team to find new ways to serve her clientele, she is advocating for various bills and policy issues affecting pharmacy at both the state and federal level. For her, Savley says it has always been, and always will be, about the patient. In fact, it’s this customer service that makes Alps Pharmacy so successful.
From a young age, Savley had a gut feeling she’d work in health care. Though she began working at 14 years old, she was 16 when she landed her first job at a local pharmacy in her hometown of Dexter, Missouri. She attended the University of Missouri–Kansas City and graduated in 1980 at 22 years old. “I started out at $10 an hour, and some of the grocery store people were mad because I was making as much as they were, and they were clerks at a union store,” Savley says. At the time, she was also overcoming a stigma in the industry. “When I started as a pharmacist, people would come in the pharmacy, look right at me and ask, ‘Where is the pharmacist?’ Hello, it's me—a woman,” Savley says. “The common image of a pharmacist back then was a white-haired, white, older gentleman with a white jacket.” Nevertheless, she didn’t bat an eye. Her first professional job was with the Safeway Food Barn in Kansas City before moving to Springfield, where she eventually became the director of pharmacy at Price Cutter in 2002. At the time, she met her now ex-husband who was planning to open a grocery store in Springfield. He asked if she’d come along and open her own pharmacy, and in 2004 Alps Pharmacy was born.