In 1963, Ed Yurek founded what is now known as Yurek Pharmacy Ltd. The business started small, occupying a 1,500 square-foot location. In the early 1970s, the store expanded, adding another 1,000 square feet.
Yurek Pharmacy got its start as a family business and that remains a part of its core today. Edward's sons Peter and Jeff both grew up in the pharmacy business, starting as stock boys and eventually experiencing every position in the company. This well-rounded experienced served the boys well, as both graduated as licensed pharmacists: Peter in 1983 and Jeff in 1995.
"When I was seven years old, I used to come in on Sunday afternoons and help my father by restocking the candy," Peter explained.
When Edward retired in 1996, it was a natural progression to handing over the reins of the business to Peter and Jeff. Since then, they've diligently worked to keep the Yurek brand at the forefront of the healthcare industry.
"That was a tumultuous time for the retail pharmacy industry as a whole," Peter explained, referencing government cutbacks amongst other challenges. So the brothers made the decision to diversify their business. "We were totally focused on prescriptions up until that point. We decided to expand into the provision of other healthcare products and services.
"It just seemed a natural progression to expand into the healthcare field."
The business grew to the point where the brothers purchased the old trust building next door and expanded -- knocking down the wall and going from 2,500 square-feet total to a space featuring 5,500 square feet on the main floor, another 5,500 square feet in the basement, complemented by 1,500 square feet of office space. They also hired external sales staff to focus on walkers, wheelchairs, and oher durable medical products.
In 2004, Yurek added a 4,000 square-foot warehouse in St. Thomas to their growing operations, which was joined in 2007 by an affiliate Yurek Home Healthcare retail location in London, ON. In 2008, they gutted the second and third floors of their main building, putting in a clean room and packaging area, as well as creating office space.
Lying at the heart of the Yurek brand is a commitment to community. Peter continues to support the wellbeing of the community as the owner; Jeff is currently taking a sabbatical from the business while he serves as the Member of Provincial Parliament representing the Elgin-Middlesex-London riding.
And the business continues to grow. In 2012, South West Community Care Access Centre awarded Yurek a contract for medical supplies and infusion equipment and related supplies services for the entirety of its service area. This contract covers Elgin, Norfolk, Oxford, London-Middlesex, Huron, Perth, Grey, and Bruce counties of which Yurek has been providing medical supplies and equipment to these counties since March of 2013. To help support the SWCC program, Yurek opened another facility in 2013 and expanded to Newbold Street in 2017 in London, ON