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The Calanna Story — narrated by Mario

It all began on the Woree Pharmacy site back in 1976 when the Calanna Medical Centre was built. My mother and father owned and operated the cane farm from this very location for many years. It was the place where I grew up and where my wife Linda and I lived and raised our two children, Matthew and Catherine, who now also work in the business.

The Woree Pharmacy site holds many memories for the family and is a place we have built from the ground up and have put our hearts and souls into.

It was my father's idea to build the centre and develop the site. I had graduated with a pharmacy degree five years earlier and had been working for another local pharmacy. I also had a vision to help people be healthy and improve their overall wellness and this was the perfect opportunity for him to put my passion into action.

I decided not to follow in my father's footsteps, I wasn't interested in running the cane farm, so I bought the land from my parents and the rest is history, I haven't looked back.

Creating my own pharmacy was an avenue to be with people and carry on the dream I had of improving other people's lives. I have always been inspired by my aunty who was one of the very first female pharmacists in Cairns. I just love what working in the health industry can achieve, you really can save people's lives by offering them the right advice and support when they have a disease or an illness and it's what makes me get out of bed in the morning and always has.

Proud moments for me have been when Catherine began work in 2000 and when my son Matthew became a registered pharmacist.

It got my son and I working together and we share the same goals and visions for the business and I think we compliment each other in the sense that he is a great manager and technically minded person and I am great with people. Every day we learn from each other.

We have some big plans for Calanna Pharmacy over the coming years and part of what we want to achieve out there in the community is a sense of warmth and wellness with our pharmacies.

We know how busy everyone's schedules have become in society and how health is far too often ignored. We want our pharmacies to be a place where people can come and have all their health needs met under the one roof in a personalised environment where people know them and care about their individual requirements.

All Calanna Pharmacies have a solid customer care and a loyalty program which is proving invaluable as their customer base continues to grow by the day.

Calanna Pharmacy is unique in the pharmacy world, employing qualified pharmacists and practitioners to achieve a holistic approach to health. Calanna was the first pharmacy which introduced an integrated approach to pharmacies more than 13 years ago when it employed its first naturopath to work on a full time basis within the chemist.

Since that time the pharmacy now employs a host of practitioners including naturopaths, homeopaths, registered nurses and nutritionists. The pharmacy is also home to the first internal clinic which offers a range of services for people of all ages.

Vanessa Wannenburg, Vanessa Young, Catherine Calanna, & Marina Perkins  head up the Calanna Pharmacy natural medicine practitioners.

All four of these women are very passionate about what they do and offer another critical facet to the business. A natural remedy for the majority of diseases and illnesses is now available within our pharmacy.

Mario's Achievements

Congratulations to Mario who won the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) State Owner Manager Award in November 2006. The final was held in Brisbane, where 7 regional finalists were interviewed for the Award. This is the first time the Award has come to Cairns.

The judges were impressed with the Calanna holistic approach to business, health & the commitment Mario has to his team by helping them become more knowledgeable & confident in their career at the Pharmacies. He gave a special vote of thanks to you, our customers who support, trust & are loyal to Calanna. Together we can have a 'Zest for Life' community.