Crestline Pharmacy is a love story come to life. It’s the tale of high school sweethearts Amanda and Matt Leach, who met at Homewood High School and worked together at a local pharmacy, then fell in love with each other and the independent pharmacy career path. Matt proposed to Amanda during their junior year of college after picking her up from her shift, and the rest was history. They knew they wanted to get married, have a big family, and own a pharmacy together, so in 2020, Amanda and Matt took over Crestline Pharmacy, where Matt works as a pharmacist and Amanda runs the gift shop.
Since then, their love story has evolved into a love for the community, too, as Amanda and Matt strive to offer the special care and attention that you’d be hard-pressed to find at a big box pharmacy. It’s a true family affair; if you swing by the pharmacy, you’ll likely get a chance to meet Amanda and Matt’s four children, 10-year-old Mills and 4-year-old triplets Oaks, Eloise, and Wilder. For this family, Crestline Pharmacy is a dream come true. We’re excited to introduce our newest FACE of Birmingham, Crestline Pharmacy’s Amanda Bailey Leach.
What makes Crestline Pharmacy different from “big box” pharmacies?
We are kind of Mayberry around here. We have house accounts — kids come in after school, and they get a Coke and some candy, and they say, “Put it on my mom’s account,” and we know exactly who they are and who their mom is. We have a delivery truck that goes out multiple times a day; it’s free delivery. Our elderly patients need things delivered, and we’ve got pregnant mamas who don’t want to get out.
We’re kind of a big family. If you’re here long enough, you’re going to walk in the door, and we’re going to say, “Hey! How are you? How are things going with your family?” And at the big box stores, you’re trained to wait for hours, if not until the next day. Here, for the most part, you walk back, hand them your prescription, and you’re out the door in 10 minutes or less. That prescription is filled by someone you know, someone who cares about you, and someone who’s told you everything you need to know.
What role do you feel pharmacies — especially independent pharmacies — should play in a community?
I think that a big box store meets the need of providing a prescription; in the independent stores, we are caretakers. We want to provide healing in every way we can.
We see people who have lost a loved one that day, and we’ve walked that entire journey with them. We see people out for the first time with their new baby. We see people who have just gotten a terrible diagnosis. We have the opportunity to love people through their journey and life and the big box stores — I’m not trying to villainize them — they’re just not set up that way. They don’t get to do that.
Because we are on such a smaller scale and get to exist in these communities at the capacity that we do, we have this opportunity to create relationships and do so much more than hand them a bottle of pills.
What’s it like owning and operating a business with your spouse?
It’s easy for us to work together. We don’t operate in the same capacity. I’m not in the pharmacy; he’s not in the front of the store. So, there’s a lot of waving and passing in the hallway.
You’ve got to be on the same team. We have been together for so long! We had built such a strong foundation of friendship and partnership before owning a business ever happened that transitioning to business ownership was pretty seamless. And when I say seamless, I don’t mean we’ve got it all together. But we know each other well enough to know we can do this together. It’s much easier to run a business together than raise triplets!
How do you and Matt balance building a business and raising a family?
I spent my first year owning Crestline Pharmacy asking that question to every entrepreneur, woman, and mom I knew. Finally — pretty recently — I got the answer, and it is that there is no balance. You handle what’s right in front of you.
Sometimes the kids need all of me, and that means I have to drop work for a little while. Sometimes work needs all of me, so the kids get a little bit less. But most of the time, it’s a juggle. Not a lot of sleep happens, and that’s OK because I’m going to look back and be so grateful that we could fulfill our dream.
Also, Matt is unbelievable. He’s probably more maternal than I am! He pulls 50 percent — if not more — of life with those kids. There isn’t a thing that man won’t do for them. It works for us because of Matt and his willingness to be the dad that he is.
At the pharmacy, you’re also known for your eye-catching outfits such as sequin pants, go-go boots, gold shoes, and neon colors. Tell us more!
The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come into myself. I just wear what I love, and what I love happens to be sequin pants and neon shirts. I am a creative at heart. Now that [I’m working in] this capacity, I don’t get to write or paint, so dressing has become my creative outlet. Being able to express myself through my wardrobe has been a joy.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
We love to be outside. We live in West Homewood in a clown car of a house. Because we have feral children, an ideal day for us is going to Pizzeria G.M. We eat on the patio and then play in the park with the kids.
What’s the best advice you have to offer?
It’s a coin with two sides. The first is to enjoy the moment that you’re in. Savor that moment because before you know it, it will be gone. Relish every single day, no matter what it holds.
And on the other side of that, as someone who has struggled with debilitating depression, anxiety, and a horrible journey of infertility, the best thing someone ever told me was, “You won’t always feel this way.” When you’re in those tough moments, your brain tells you it’s never going to change, but I’ve lived enough to know it won’t always feel this way. Hope is coming. Change is coming.
Name three things you can’t live without.
Mascara, shoes, and Audible.
All photography courtesy of Amanda Bailey Leach.
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