Lewis Drug celebrates 70th anniversary

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Lewis Drug is celebrating its 70th anniversary — a milestone that can be attributed, in part, to its willingness to embrace change.

“One of the most important things I learned about the retail business is that you need to change. You need to keep yourself fresh and creative, and things will work out,” said Mark Griffin, president and CEO of Lewis Drug, which currently operates more than 30 locations. “Obviously, in 70 years, things worked out well and we continue to evolve.”

The philosophy is paying off. Not only is the regional player celebrating seven decades, but Lewis Drug also is having its best year to date in the history of the company. It is commemorating 70 years through promotional materials and block parties.

Established in 1942 as the first self-service drug store in South Dakota and the surrounding region, Lewis Drug’s history runs deep, but its long-standing commitment to serving its customers through a broad assortment of merchandise runs even deeper.

“We are a drug store that was never a traditional drug store. We were promotional oriented and also seasonally oriented from the get-go, and we still have that trademark at Lewis,” Griffin said. “Pharmacy will always be our trademark, but we are so much more than a traditional drug store.”

Lewis Drug’s vast assortment, which includes such items as gas grills, flat screen TVs and portable DVD players, didn’t happen by accident. Griffin attributed it, in part, to his father’s background with Skaggs Cos. “I think the way he came up, he noticed that trying new things continually, in the long run, worked out and that drug stores should be more than a pharmacy counter,” Griffin said. His father, John Griffin, passed away in 1986.

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