After 114 years in business, Gillespie’s Pharmacy in St. Joseph is no more. The family-owned company shut down for good on Monday, citing increased competition as the reason they could no longer compete in the area. The pharmacy was founded by Frank Gillespie in 1905 in downtown St. Joseph in the storefront currently occupied by Perennial Accents. His son, Richard, opened his own store on Washington Avenue in 1960, and that was the company’s final location.
The third generation of owners, Amy Gillespie and Kelly Karsten, say they had worked extremely hard to keep going over the past few years, and exhausted “all reasonable measures” to compete. They had kept the store open following their father’s retirement in 1993 and worked diligently to keep the store open “at all costs” except on major holidays and Sundays.
In the statement announcing the closure, Amy and Kelly said they’ve “been blessed with the most dedicated pharmacists and staff members, who shared our deep commitment to provide the highest level of personal, customer service and pharmaceutical advice. We couldn’t have done it without them.”
The add they are extremely grateful to all of their loyal customers who “trusted us and gave us the distinct privilege of serving their health and pharmaceutical needs, and we have so many wonderful memories of them coming through our door every single day.”
When WSJM News stopped in Monday to chat about the closing of the store, Kelly politely declined citing the emotion of the closure. Another staffer shared what she believed had been the secret to their success as competition grew from major retailers: top-notch customer service. Gillespie and Karsten close their statement by saying while the family business is gone, “we are confident our grandparents, parents, and aunts and uncles would be proud of the personal and caring service we provided our community for so many years after them.”