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HARTIG DRUG COMPANY

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The first location of a Hartig Drug Store--97 Locust. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
HARTIG DRUG COMPANY. Albert J. HARTIG worked summers and holidays at the pharmacy owned by Otto Ruete. When Ruete became ill in 1904, he asked Hartig to purchase the store at First and Locust STREETS in Dubuque. Albert was then in his last year of pharmacy school at Northwestern University. Hartig hired as his first employee his sister Olga, a pharmacy school graduate and one of the first female pharmacists in Iowa. (1)
A postcard showing Main Street with Hartigs on the right (east side).
In 1917 a second store was located at 630 Main Street. In 1927 this store was moved to 756 Main. The third Hartig store was opened in 1934 at 25th and Central. The Main Street store was moved again in 1941 to 730-736 Main. This became Dubuque's first self-serve drug store.

Albert's son, David, entered the business in the early 1930s. Kenneth Hartig, David's brother, joined the firm in 1940 but was then called into military service during WORLD WAR II. When he returned to the United States, the two brothers assumed the leadership. (2) In 1944 the store on Central was relocated to 24th and Central. Construction continued in 1951 as a new store replacing the original at 1st and Locust was opened. In 1954 the site of the old Capital Theater became the new location of the Central Street store. The 1959 Dubuque City Directory listed store locations at 2203 Central, 97 Locust, and 730 Main. In 1964 the company built and opened a new store at 22nd and Central with a parking lot. Following the death of Albert Hartig in 1964, the corporate stock was owned by David and Kenneth Hartig.

David retired in 1970, and Kenneth took charge. Kenneth Hartig became the sole owner in 1970 by purchasing all the corporate stock. A new store was opened in Asbury Square Shopping Center. This was followed in 1971 with a new store at 700 Town Clock Plaza in 1971.

Kenneth's unexpected death in 1973, left the company in dire condition. Richard HARTIG was just completed pharmacy school, but had other plans than returning to Dubuque. The company, however, had always been operated by a pharmacist. Changing his plans, Richard returned to Dubuque. Borrowing millions of dollars, he purchased all the corporate stock in 1983. (3) The company owned additional stores in Dubuque and Oelwein before starting a branch in Galena in 1975. The two Holscher's Apothecary operations were purchased in 1977 and combined in 1980 to form Hartig Homecare, a home health and pharmacy, located at Kennedy Road and Pennsylvania Avenue.

In 1985 Hartig opened a pharmacy in Dyersville and began its affiliation with Snyder Drug Stores of Minneapolis. In 1989 the company purchased a building at 703 Town Clock Plaza and renovated it to serve as a drug store and the corporate offices. Hartig Homecare in 1992 was subdivided into Hartig Homecare and Hartig Nursing Home Services.

By 1996 the Hartig Drug Company operated seven Hartig Snyder Drug Stores, Hartig Homecare and Hartig Nursing Home Services. In the same year, the Hartig family announced the transfer through a charitable gift of the former Hartig Building at 700 Town Clock Plaza to Northeast Iowa Community College.

In 2001 Richard Hartig hired Fortune 100 executive Keith Bibelhausen to help guide the company. It was the first time in the company's history that someone outside the family had served as president.

In 2010 the corporate headquarters were located at 703 Main. Stores were located at:

157 Locust

Asbury Square Shopping Center

2225 Central

1600 University

Stone Creek Shopping Center, Dyersville

200 McGregor Plaza, Platteville, Wisconsin

1120 Bartell Blvd. Galena, Illinois

139 W. Maple St. Lancaster, Wisconsin

In December 2014, Hartig Drug Company representatives announced that the company had acquired Phillips Pharmacy stores in Belle Plaine, Williamsburg, and Monticello, Iowa. The stores would begin using the name Hartig Drug on January 5, 2015. (4)

Expansion of Hartigs in Dubuque included the remodeling in 2010 of the northern portion of Asbury Square Shopping Center to allow expansion of the existing store.
Photo courtesy: Bob Johnsen

In May 2018 company officials announced that Keith Bibelhausen had accepted the role of CEO. Richard Hartig would remain as the chairman of the board and Charles Hartig would join the business as vice-president and general counsel. (5)

In 2018 Hartigs was the nation's second oldest family-owned drugstore chain. (6)

See: WALKER'S SHOE STORE

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Source:

1. Kittle, M. D., "Corner Drug Store," Telegraph Herald, May 30, 2004, p. 23

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. "Hartig Drug Company," Tri-State Business, Telegraph Herald, December 30, 2014, p. 7A

5. "New CEO Takes Helm at Hartig Drug, Among Other Management Changes," Telegraph Herald, May 20, 2018, p. 3A

6. Kittle

Families in Business. (magazine) Telegraph Herald, July 30, 2010. p. 99