A Message From Alex January 2024

When working on our plans for 2024, I wondered what my great-great-grandpa Louis Oswald was up to back in 1924. While my Grandmother, Grandpa Oswald’s Granddaughter, wasn’t born until 1933, there are still family stories from before her time she remembers. The Naperville Variety Store? Not one she recalls.

Using the Digital Newspaper Collection from the University of Illinois I looked back at Naperville Clarion articles from 1924. In January, the shop’s proprietor was E.A. Kellogg. By June of 1924, Oswald would purchase the store from Kellogg. They had a closeout sale of Kellogg’s old merchandise before closing the store for remodeling in late July of ‘24. Which is interesting—we’re planning on doing some remodeling this year! I’d like to think if Grandpa Oswald could see the store today, he’d say we’re both a proper drug store and a variety store! No need for a second storefront.

Oswald’s (Naperville) Variety Store

By the end of ‘24 Oswald was taking out front-page ads on the Naperville Clarion for the Naperville Variety Store. Just a year later in June of ‘24, it was announced they were having a closeout sale! By July it was learned that the Consumers Sanitary Coffee and Butter Store had purchased the building from Oswald. At the time, they were a large grocery chain of 150+ stores in the Chicagoland area! Hopefully, it was a good trade-off for Grandpa Oswald because running two stores during the Depression in 5 years would not have been easy. Even keeping the pharmacy afloat during those times was challenging. 

As we’re renters here at Naperville Plaza, no need to worry about me selling to a grocery store—we’ve already got two great ones! I’m proud to carry on our family tradition of caring for this community, both with the pharmacy, and our wide ‘variety’ of offerings. I’m excited to say we’ll be celebrating our 150th anniversary next year! As for the Consumers Sanitary Coffee and Butter Store, they were purchased by Kroger in 1929.

I hope you and your families had a wonderful Holiday Season and look forward to a prosperous 2024. Thanks as always for your continued support. ꝶ

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!)