Pharmacy marks 90 years
NILES — In the 1920s, the city had several family-owned independent pharmacies. Today, only Troutman Drug Co., Robbins Avenue, has lasted more than 90 years.
James Tallman, owner of Troutman Drug Co., said he has researched the history of the drugstore for upcoming presentations at local clubs. He said he did his research using the McKinley Memorial Library archives and looked at past newspapers, including the Niles Times.
At Troutman’s, the soda fountain is now gone but the penny scale is still there, and on the walls are historic photos of Niles. Although the times have changed, Tallman said one thing that always stays the same is the service.
Tallman said the five hands-on pharmacists keep up with new trends in health care and advise customers about insurance.
”Customers appreciate the personal attention and prompt service that has helped Troutman Drug Co. survive all the changes in pharmacy, the chain stores, the grocery and big box pharmacies and impersonal mail-away,” Tallman said.
Dawn Tallman said longtime employees have been familiar friendly faces for the citizens of Niles and surrounding communities.
Dawn, who stocks cards from up to 70 companies, said, ”One of the biggest assets is the smile you get when you walk through the door.”
The six pharmacies in Niles at one time were Frank P. Pipers, 20 S. Main; E.C. Ferguson’s, 5 E. State St.; Wagstaff’s at corner of Park and State streets; Ward’s at 11 S. Main St.; and Park’s at 533 Robbins Ave. The latter two were both owned by H.T. Calvin.
Tallman said by the 1930s, only three remained that were viable for the future.
Ward’s Pharmacy existed before 1908, moving to 41 S. Main St. In 1971, the pharmacy was purchased by Ron Theis and named Theis Pharmacy. In 1985, Gary Kuszmaul bought the business and named it Kuszmaul’s Pharmacy until it closed in November 2006.
Calvin’s at 2 N. Main St. began in 1914. It was purchased by Rudy Prince in 1958. In 1979, it moved to a new location at 1 S. Main St. and remained as Calvin’s until it closed in August 1986.
Park’s Pharmacy was purchased from H.T. Calvin in 1926 by Frank and Robert Fowler at 533 Robbins Ave. A new brick building was constructed at 501 Robbins Avenue, corner of Robbins and Cedar Street needing more space. On the second floor, were three doctors’ offices and in the basement a barber shop.
Tallman said in 1948, part of the first floor was sold to Barney and Gilbert Macali and became known as Macali’s Deluxe Market. They later moved in 1957 to 353 Robbins Ave. and then to 48 Vienna Ave. in 1979, the current location.
“Macali’s was right beside us and was part of the building,” James Tallman said.
In April 1955, Willis Troutman bought the store and named in Troutman’s Drug Store and incorporated it in 1967.
Willis Troutman sold the store in July 1972 to his sons, Barry Troutman and James Tallman, who also started The Medicine Man Pharmacy at 1150 Niles-Cortland Road in Dr. Carl Gillette’s new building. It stayed in operation from 1978 to 1997.
In February 1983, Troutman died, and James and Dawn Tallman became sole owners, keeping the name, the Troutman Drug Co. Tallman purchased the building in 1984, and it has been at its current location since 1929.
“The roots of the store go back to 1926. Families could stop here for their medicine and get whatever else they needed,” James Tallman said.
James Tallman said he credits prompt service and delivery to customers as the reasons for the business’ success.