One of Us: Jay Griffin


When someone close to him was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, he and his wife, Natalie, decided to open an independent pharmacy to fill a need they saw in the community. They developed a passion for assisting children with SPD or autism and their families through compounding, or creating customized medications. About a month ago the couple’s dream became a reality with the opening of A1A Pharmacy located at 200 Solana Road in Ponte Vedra Beach. In addition to specializing in treatment options for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and SPD, the pharmacy also offers compounding for pets and retail such as natural body care products and a high-quality vitamin line, A1A Select Vitamins.

Where are you from originally?
Warner Robins, Georgia. It’s right smack dab in the middle of Georgia about 25 miles south of Macon and about 100 south of Atlanta. It’s a big Air Force community.

Tell me about your family?
I have a wife, Natalie, and two children.

How long have you been a pharmacist?
I graduated in 1989 from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy, so 26 years.

What made you want to open an independent pharmacy?
Someone very close to us was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and it introduced us to this world of SPD. We decided there was a need in this area for a pharmacy that specialized in helping families treat children with SPD or Autism Spectrum Disorder, and we can do that through our compounding. With autism and SPD, children are often very sensitive to taste and texture. We compound medications that are really supplements from the doctors, and they might have 30 ingredients in them. With children, especially, with the sensory issues, or even just children in general, with some medicines, we can change the form of it as a compound or we can make gummies out of medications or we can make lollipops. We can also change the flavor, and that’s something that is often very helpful for children.

Did you ever think that you would own your own business?
I never thought I’d be a business owner. I never had a strong desire to own a business, but all of a sudden, here we are. It’s been exciting! We wanted to help these brilliant physicians and these families - be part of that triad of care to help these kids realize their potential and that’s the passion. We tried to make it a pleasant environment in here. We painted ourselves, we laid the floors ourselves and our photographer is a local. I’ve met some of the most amazing people, the most generous people, and I think it’s mainly highlighted in my lack of being a pharmacist who never really had this passion of opening a business, to have it open is just really more a reflection on the help that I’ve received from people in the community.

Do you offer everything that a commercial pharmacy does?
I think the biggest misconception often times when people see us and they hear of compounding, they don’t realize that we do everything. We are a pharmacy first, that also compounds. And we just have a passion for children with special needs and to try and assist these physicians and these families, but we can fill anything that you can get filled anywhere else. We also do retail, like a Walgreens, a CVS or Publix. Because of our passion with children and their sensitivity to chemicals and things, we are constantly looking for vitamins and other over the counter items that are free of chemicals, glutens and dyes — things that could affect children or even adults. We accept most major insurance cards, and we also offer free delivery to the Ponte Vedra Beaches area.

Do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy fossils. I’ve got a little fossil display in the store. I don’t really have a lot of time to do that right now; starting a business, a lot of your hobbies get put on the back shelf, but family is really. I enjoy my free time with my kids, taking them to the movies, and doing things with them.

one of us, jay griffin