TORONTO - Jim Koopman, co-owner of Toronto Apothecary pharmacy, was the guest speaker during the city chamber's Thursday luncheon meeting at the North River Avenue Christian Church.
Koopman said he was born and raised in Indiana before working for a Walgreens pharmacy in Houston.
"I managed a Walgreens store for about three years," said Koopman, adding he learned about the corporate business structure while there.
CHAMBER TALK — Jim Koopman, co-owner of Toronto Apothecary pharmacy, talked about the business he co-founded four years ago in the Gem City during Thursday’s luncheon meeting of the Toronto Ohio Chamber of Commerce at the North River Avenue Christian Church. -- Mark Miller
Koopman subsequently went to work for Wal-Mart in East Liverpool when a store opened there in 1991.
"That's what brought me back to the area," he said, adding he also began working part time at Center Pharmacy in Wellsville. "I fell in love with (working there)."
Koopman said working for a smaller pharmacy brought him back to customer relations and out of the corporate structure. In 2004, his friend Joe Amaismeier purchased Center Pharmacy. Koopman said he was asked by Wal-Mart to quit working at the pharmacy. However, he decided to work for the Wellsville pharmacy as well as the former Toronto Pharmacy, he said.
"I chose to leave Wal-Mart at the time," said Koopman, adding when Toronto Pharmacy closed its doors he and Amaismeier decided to open a pharmacy in the Gem City. "I thought it would be a good business opportunity. But we couldn't be Toronto Pharmacy again."
The two couldn't use the name, so they came up with Toronto Apothecary, which Koopman said was a popular name for pharmacies in other parts of the country, but "no one knew what it meant or what we were selling here."
Koopman said once the locals were educated on what an apothecary was, business picked up.
"We just celebrated our fourth year," said Koopman, adding competition is fierce. "It's tough. But we now have a state-of-the-art compounding lab."
Koopman said the lab would enable the pharmacy to create customized medications in a variety of delivery systems.
"It's a whole new avenue to learn, and we're a full-service pharmacy with delivery," he said. "I wanted to thank the community for allowing us to grow."
In other business:
- It was announced the chamber is seeking board members for 2013. The chamber's website, at www.torontoohiochmaber.com, is almost completed.
- It was announced the chamber-sponsored light-up night is set for 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 20 at the city gazebo commons. The chamber also will be selling memorial luminaria to benefit the Toronto Unit of the Salvation Army's Home Heating Assistance program.