In 1909 L.A. Whittemore, who managed the drug department at the Itasca Mercantile store in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, formed a partnership with George Blasing and opened the Central Drug Store. Several years later Mr. Whittemore bought out Mr. Blasing, renamed the company Whittemore Rexall Drug, and relocated it to 221 First Avenue West in Grand Rapids.
In 1935, Mr. Whittemore's daughter, June, married Ivan Peterson, and in 1938 Mr. Peterson became the new pharmacist at his father-in-law's company. In 1949 the store was moved to a new building at the corner of First Avenue West and Second Street. At this time Mr. Whittemore retired, and Mr. Peterson became the owner.
In June 1959, Mr. Peterson, along with long-time Whittemore Drug pharmacist, Larry Taylor, became the co-owners of the newly incorporated, remodeled and renamed Globe Rexall Drug. Mrs. Peterson came up with the new name, inspired by the old fashioned Apothecary Globes that used to be the signature of a quality pharmacist.
The newly named Globe Drug offered a wide variety of merchandise from toiletries and pet supplies to candy and fishing tackle. They were also trend setters in business by staying open on nights and weekends to accommodate customers. Mr. Peterson was quoted saying, "Service is important to us — we have a professional on duty every day, all year."
In April 1974 Peterson sold his shares and Larry Taylor became the sole owner of Globe Rexall Drug, Inc. until December 1986 when he sold it to Tom and Ann Jackson. Mr. Taylor continued on as a pharmacist until his retirement. In 1990 Tom and Ann moved the business to its current location. With Tom as a pharmacist and Ann as a registered nurse, they expanded Globe Drug to include home medical equipment and supplies and medical uniforms.
On January 1, 2006 Mike and Lisa Brandt, both licensed pharmacists, purchased Globe Drug and Medical Equipment. They continue practicing the long-standing tradition of excellent service and have also expanded the company to include online prescription refills, diabetic shoes, vaccinations, TENS units, blister packing for assisted living facilities and group homes, a drive-thru window, a robotic pill dispenser and a gift shop filled with unique gift ideas. Mike and Lisa have also increased the square footage giving Globe Drug the ability to carry more inventory that is readily available to the consumer. While ownership has changed the same quality of care, integrity and commitment to the community has carried through with each generation.
The big red structure in front of the Globe Drug and Medical Equipment store is an apothecary show globe. In the past, apothecary show globes were the symbol for a quality pharmacy much like the barber pole was for the barber. From the early 1880's until the 1950's most pharmacies displayed a show globe to identify their drugstore.
Inside the show globe the pharmacist added colored water by mixing chemicals together making the globe beautifully colored. Every pharmacist used his unique coloration formula to create and display his ability to mix a perfect color.
The show globe communicated recognition of an educated and skilled druggist to his community. Prior to the early 1900's most states didn't require a college degree to be a licensed pharmacist. A man could open a drug store without much inventory, knowledge, or skill. The ability to properly extract and mix color was the sign of a competent druggist. Therefore, a beautifully colored show globe translated into a knowledgeable, trustworthy druggist.