Kevin Musto found the career he loved at an early age. He was 15 when he started working at the Happy Harry’s pharmacy near his home in downtown Smyrna, and he’s worked in pharmacies ever since.

He’s proud to say he’s a lifelong Kent County resident except for the years he attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa.

After graduation, he worked as a staff pharmacist for Happy Harry'’s, pharmacy manager for Edgehill, and director of pharmacy for Owen Healthcare at the Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill.

He said his enthusiasm for pharmacy and dedication to his hometown inspired him to open Atlantic Apothecary in Smyrna in 2007.

Why did you want to start your pharmacy in Kent County?

I practice in Smyrna because my family and friends are rooted here and I am very familiar with and deeply care for this patient population.

What do you like most about running your business?

The best part about making decisions locally is that we can do what is best for our patients and community. We don’t have corporate requirements that distract us from caring for our patients.

What’s the biggest challenge?

The cost of healthcare. I see it as a provider, employer and as a consumer. Every year the cost of healthcare increases. It costs more for employers – in the near future it will be half of an employee’s salary package – and more of the costs are shifted to patients in deductibles and copays. Patients are often confused about their insurance, so we help them better understand their plans. But many medications require prior authorization or are not covered by their plan or the copay may be cost prohibitive, resulting in patients not being adherent which can result in unwanted outcomes.

What’s the best business advice you've received?

Treat patients as you would like to be treated. It is basic business, but we care for our patients like family and we want them to be ridiculously healthy and happy.

– By Ben Mace