Kids in the Family Business

When we work on Oswald’s social media, we often find ourselves digging through the ‘archives’ of old family photos. It’s always exciting to come across pictures of kids in the pharmacy. Like this picture of my father Bill at the pharmacy (c. 1962):

Oswald's 5th generation owner Bill Anderson at the Pharmacy around 1962.

Or this picture of my Grandma dressed in a Kodak Film box (c. 1935):

Jean Kester-Anderson standing in front of Oswald's Pharmacy in 1935.

Thinking about film, it won’t be hard to find pictures of my kids in the pharmacy. With how easy it is to take digital pictures on your phone in this day in age, I’ve already got hundreds! I should slow down so the next generation digging for photos doesn’t have to sort through thousands of pictures of my toddlers relaxing in lift chairs.

Growing Up at Oswald’s

I often think back to summers in the 1990s when my Mom went back to work full-time. Most kids get to see their parents at work only a few times each year. For my siblings and me, entire summers were spent at the pharmacy! Some of our favorite tasks included:

  • ‘Helping’ at the register a.k.a bagging for the cashiers, hoping they’d buy us a 10 cent York Peppermint Pattie for our hard work
  • Stocking the soda machines, over-the-counter drugs, or toy aisle (the most exciting!) Which for a few years, included the oh-so-coveted Beanie Babies! As they grew in popularity, stocking new Beanie Babies became too dangerous a task for small children. Adults weren’t playing around when it came to snagging the latest and greatest Ty critter.
  • Playing in the basement: When the store was located downtown, things like back-stock, incoming orders, old files and Bill’s office all resided in the basement. Low ceilings, limestone walls, climb-able shelves and 100+ years of odds and ends made for a kids paradise! Probably not OSHA approved.

The Next Generation at Oswald’s

Fast forward 20+ years and it’s my kids who are beginning to find their place at the pharmacy. While Tillie isn’t quite old enough to hone her bagging skills, she likes to test new items in our medical equipment department, try the latest allergy-friendly candies, and, most importantly, see what’s new in the toy section!

7th generation Oswald's family member Tillie Anderson checking out the goods by the Oswald's United States Post Office.

Arlo, my 1-year-old, just likes to look around and be cute. No soda stocking duties for him. Yet.

I like to think each generation of kids in the Anderson-Kester-Oswald-Wickel family has brought new life into the store. I know my kids inspire new products we purchase for our shelves. Some of these products include a selection of allergy-friendly products (my daughter, along with 1 in 12 kids her age, suffers from food allergies), a growing selection of natural and organic products and, of course, our unique toy, game and puzzle selection.

What Do You Love About Oswald’s?

What do your kids enjoy most about Oswald’s Pharmacy? Anything you’d like to see on our shelves that we don’t currently carry? Please send me a message at alex@oswaldspharmacy or stop by the store and say hey! We’re always on the look-out for products that make Oswald’s a destination for the next generation.

Written by Alex Anderson

Alex is the current owner of Oswald's Pharmacy. A 6th generation member of the Wickel-Oswald-Kester-Anderson family, Alex focuses on innovation and taking the business into the future. With 7 years of working for Whole Foods Market as a Marketing & Community Relations Specialist, Healthy Eating Specialist, and Private Events Coordinator, Alex has a unique perspective on big and small businesses. Alex is a co-founder and board member of the Independent Medical Retailers group. Alex graduated with a BA degree from Columbia College Chicago in 2009. Alex has spent most of his life in Naperville and Chicago. He currently lives in Naperville with his 2 children (Oswald's 7th Generation!)