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Doyle’s Family Pharmacy closing Friday

Is oldest in same Toledo location - dates from 1873

December 13, 2011
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Come this Saturday, Dec. 17, it will be the first time in 138 years you won't be able to get a prescription filled in downtown Toledo.

After their own 31 years in this location, Friday is the day Tom and Mary Doyle will close the doors on their Doyle's Family Pharmacy at 108 East High St. The drug store was first opened in 1873 on the site by Stephen Stiger according to the 2003 Toledo History Book and has operated as a pharmacy for all those years.

The Doyle pharmacy records, four employees and Tom himself, will still be in business here though.

Article Photos

Mary and Tom Doyle behind the pharmacy counter on Wednesday, Dec. 7.
Chronicle photos/John Speer

Martha Read, Kathy Holtz, Audrey Elliott along with Tom and his fellow pharmacist, Joel Schields, will all be transferring to the Pamida Store, 1006 So. County Rd. (U.S. Highway 63 south) in Toledo.

The Doyle Pharmacy records will be incorporated with the existing Pharmacy there and Tom and Joel will work part-time with Pamida pharmacist Mike Bachelder.

Mary, a certified pharmacy technician as well as a Registered Nurse, is the only one not making the switch.

The Doyles say the change is " very bittersweet." They developed a "planned exit - retirement" from their business a year ago, they said.

They also mention many high school students have worked in the store over they years with at least one pursuing a pharmacy career.

"We enjoyed meeting people with many becoming just like family. We have been blessed with wonderful, wonderful customers," Mary said.

Using professional contacts they were unsuccessful in finding a buyer "willing to work 60 hours a week," Tom said. Rather than sell the pharmacy to an out-of-town interest, the Doyles say there are pleased to have been able maintain a continuity of care with the business staying locally.

And "local" is what they are passionate about.

Tom and Mary both grew up in the area. He is a 1971 graduate of South Tama High School and Mary (Cline) is a 1972 grad.

Mary graduated from Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in Des Moines in 1974 and Tom received a pharmacy degree from Drake University in Des Moines in 1975. They were married in January, 1974.

Tom was first employed as a pharmacist for five years at Rosheim's Drug Store in downtown Tama which makes his total employment on the main streets here topping 37 years.

In addition to helping in the pharmacy, Mary was the buyer for the extensive line of gift items featured throughout the sales area.

They both said a reduced work schedule will now allow them to "champion the area."

"It's just a great place to live, work and raise kids," Mary said.

Because of professional responsibilities the Doyles say they were unable to promote the area as much as they would have liked. Now, they say they intend to turn more attention to that.

They point to the excellent location of Toledo and Tama and the south Tama county area being within an hours drive of Des Moines, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and iowa City.

"We plan on being the best ambassadors," Mary said.

As with other businesses, the Doyles say the computer has been the biggest single change.

"When I stated at Rosheim's, Ed had an old Underwood typewriter," Tom said, recalling a long carriage on the machine. "We typed all the those little labels."

The change came in 1987 with the addition of a computer. Tom says he now spends less time on the telephone directly with physicians because many have hand-held devices which transfer prescription orders directly to his pharmacy computer.

The Doyles have three children along with four grandchildren and another on the way.

The children are Sarah (Andy) Pratte, a teacher in West Des Moines, John (Sara) who is project designer - mechanical engineer for Sharpsmith Marketing and Megan, who works in he business office of Toyota Financial in Cedar Rapids.

Sarah is also the successor to the late Norma "Duffy" Lyon,as the sculptor of the famed Butter Cow at the Iowa State Fair.



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