How John Bell & Croyden Is Rediscovering Its Trusted Pharmacy Touch

By CTH Editors

5 months ago

John Bell & Croyden is a Great British Brand 2024

John Bell & Croyden is an entry in our Great British Brands 2024 book. 

John Bell & Croyden: Great British Brand 2024

‘Last year was hectic in a good way. We were bought by Bestway, a British family-owned wholesale business. Bestway has the second largest pharmacy chain in the UK and rather than investing in us for sale, is in it for the long haul, giving us a great sense of security. To celebrate our 225th anniversary, we ran a competition with CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) for skincare brands not stocked in bricks-and-mortar stores. Eighty-eight brands applied and we awarded the winner, Seabody, Irish skincare made from seaweed products, a free listing instore with a £25,000 marketing package. We’re also stocking the four shortlisted finalists. It’s rewarding to give a leg up to emerging brands and we hope ultimately to see them in other major stores like Selfridges or Harrods.

In 2024 we’ll be modernising our environment, using the back of the store where we gave vaccinations to showcase more products. We’re putting state-of-the-art digital screens in our windows that will be a vibrant, energetic way to advertise our brands. We’ll also be developing a way for all private GPs and hospitals around Harley Street to send us prescriptions digitally. 

At the same time, because of our history and our heritage, we’ve always done things in a quieter, traditional way and are entirely led by our customers. So, if we ever do use AI, it would be because customers want it. 

From what I’ve seen, there’ll never be a substitute for a face-to-face conversation with a pharmacist. We pride ourselves on the information we can give anyone who comes in with a concern – hair, skin, digestion, mental health, whatever it might be. By keeping that human connection, we can ask questions and ascertain precisely the right remedy for people. Our customers really value being able to walk in and be listened to by a pharmacist.’

Robin Winfield, Director of Operations

Five Proudest Moments

  1. Obtaining a Royal Warrant as pharmacist to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1958.
  2. Winning Retail Week’s New Store of the Year award in 2016.
  3. Staying open and vaccinating over 20,000 patients against Covid during lockdown.
  4. Celebrating our 225th anniversary last year with our competition and free in-store listing for five emerging brands.
  5. Establishing ourselves as a standalone business during 2023, despite being under new ownership.

What I’ve Learnt

  • Never be frightened to sleep on a decision. The one you make the next day is nearly always the right one. 
  • Remember your manners. Say please and thank you at all times – its free, easy and always helps. 
  • Surround yourself with talented, motivated people. You don’t hire intelligent people then have to tell them what to do.


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+44 (0)20 7935 5555