17 East Monroe Street, Chicago, IL 60603
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“In 1875, Peter Merz, a Chicago pharmacist, opened Merz Apothecary on the city’s North Side. In a way, it was not much different than the other corner drugstores which existed in every American neighborhood and town at the time. It was a place to fill prescriptions and, more importantly, it was a source of information and remedies for common ailments. The pharmacists were consulted like family doctors and they would hand mix formulas for each customer’s specific conditions and problems.

However, there was a major difference between Merz Apothecary and a typical drugstore. The clientele at his shop consisted mainly of European immigrants from the surrounding neighborhood. For that reason, and because Merz was of Swiss descent, he decided to call the store an “Apothecary” in the European tradition. Like his overseas counterparts, he focused heavily on herbal medicines and traditional formulas, which were already popular and familiar to his international customers.


Although Merz Apothecary was a humble store, it served as a gathering place for the community. Comfortable leather chairs allowed patrons to sit and chat as they waited for their prescriptions to be filled or their remedies to be prepared. Merz and his pharmacists spoke many languages allowing customers to shop and seek advice in their native tongues. It wasn’t long before the store’s reputation spread.”

via Merz Apothecary