Who is Abe?
I never met my Grandpa Abe; he died shortly before I was born. By all accounts, Grandpa Abe was an honest, hard-working man. A pharmacist, for 50 years he owned and operated the eponymous Polin Drugs, a neighborhood drug store, on the West side of Chicago. Beyond being a loving husband and father, Abe represented two things in his community. First, as the neighborhood pharmacist, he was the purveyor of health and wellness solutions to all his customers. Second, as proprietor of the neighborhood pharmacy, Grandpa Abe represented the classic mom-and-pop business fueled by hard work, great products, great service, honesty, trust and passion. During the Great Depression, when many people couldn't afford to see doctors, and again during World War II, when there was a shortage of available doctors, Grandpa Abe was especially busy, offering free "medical" advice to his local customers. 9:00 to 5:00? Not for Grandpa Abe. For most of its 50 years, Polin Drugs was open 9AM to midnight. Only in its last few years did Grandpa Abe start to close his shop early - at 11PM. And, of course, Grandpa Abe knew his customers by name, and he knew exactly which cold capsules Mrs. Sandberg preferred and which medicine to deliver when Mr. Banks was having one of his migraines.
Abe's Market is about combining the best things that Grandpa Abe represented – health and wellness, mom and pop, reliability, trust, honesty, community and personal connection between business owners and customers.
That's Grandpa Abe Polin, above, in his eponymous pharmacy, Polin's Drugs - c. 1925. It was a real family business; that's Abe's dad on the left.
Abe's children, my dad and uncle, were the delivery boys. Each became a licensed pharmacy assistant at age 16. Grandpa Abe proudly displayed their certificates on the wall, right next to his own state license.
As evidenced by some of the products on display, the definition of health and wellness sure has changed in the last 80 years.