The Portage la Prairie Rotary Club got a lesson of what it's like to start a business during the pandemic on Tuesday.

Caitlin Giercke, owner of Pharmasave No. 456, spent the three-month anniversary of opening her own business talking about some of the hardships she's endured during the process.

She outlines what it took to get up and running.

"I started this whole process back in December not knowing that COVID-19 was coming in March and I was lucky enough to be able to open in June. We opened June 15th, and we had a few minor hiccups along the way. Looking back now, three months after, everything's going well and I couldn't be happier."

Giercke is also the first person to have a virtual inspection of the pharmacy done by the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba.

The College prepared a 29-page document, and she had to conduct a Zoom meeting to show the inspector the pharmacy before it was given the green light to open.

Giercke says she didn't know what to expect when she opened her doors.

"I had no idea of how many people would come in that first day, and then come in that first week, then the first month. I was so fortunate to have so many familiar faces come in, as well as friends, family and people whom I knew at my old job come and support me."

Currently, the pharmacy has two full-time staff and has started adding part-time crew members for evenings and weekends.

Giercke says one of the main ways people have been finding out about her business is through word of mouth.

"We are finding now that patients are coming in and saying, 'Oh, my mother transferred her prescriptions and she's been so happy' and we heard about you guys from so and so. It's been the biggest thing. We can spend as much as we spend on advertising, but to have happy patients tell other patients has been the biggest thing for us. That's kind of why I wanted to go out and open a smaller pharmacy."

Giercke prides herself on wanting to be a locally run grassroots pharmacy. Here's what she wants for the future.

"I just want to be able to provide my patients with the quality of care that they expect, and if that means that we have to bring on more staff, more pharmacists or anything like that, we will do what we need to do to keep our patients. We just want to keep doing what we're doing, because what we're doing right now is working."