Hartig family drops by PdC retail pharmacy as new generation takes over

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Two generations of the Hartig family visited the Prairie du Chien Hartig Drug store Aug. 1, as a farewell stop for one of them who is retiring and an introduction for his sons who are stepping up to run the company. Pictured (back row, from left) are Wes, Dick and Charlie Hartig; (front row) Manager Jennifer Stoehr and Pharmacist-in-charge Erin Greenya. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

A new generation of Hartigs is overseeing the local retail pharmacy chain of 22 tri-state stores, including the Prairie du Chien location. 

Dick Hartig is retiring after 46 years in the family business, started by his grandfather A.J. Hartig in 1904. Brothers Charlie and Wes Hartig, the fifth generation, are “excited to face the challenges” of the Dubuque, Iowa-based company, according to their father.

Charlie slid into his new role of Hartig Drug CEO in March 2018, while his brother Wes manages one of the company’s subsidiaries, MedOne Health Care Systems. 

The trio have been traveling to all of Hartig’s retailers in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. They were in Prairie du Chien Aug. 1, meeting and greeting staff, community leaders and customers. The visit was also a sort of farewell for Dick. 

Candid reminiscing was at the forefront of the local stop. Dick remembered coming from Dubuque to the Prairie du Chien and Guttenberg areas often as a kid. 

“My dad used to BS with Jan Ashby at Heimrichs drug store. They were friends but competitors,” Dick recalled. “He always told Jan, when he was ready to leave, to call.”

As things turned out, Ashby, as well as Jim Boldt, of Prairie Prescription, desired to close their businesses about the same time in downtown Prairie du Chien, and Hartig Drug acquired both simultaneously in 2004. For a while afterward, in fact, the two pharmacists worked side by side at Hartig. One of Ashby’s employees, Robyn, continues to work in the pharmacy to date.

“I still see patients who came to Jan,” Robyn remarked. 

Though the store has grown immensely in size and especially its one-of-a-kind gift offerings, Charlie emphasized that its focus remains on still being a “traditional pharmacy that always values customer service first, by watching people’s pocketbooks and making sure they’re taking their medications correctly.”

He said, in recent years, Hartig has really gotten behind small town-sourced products. For instance, some of its other locations sell locally-made honey, Potosi Beer and Dubuque-based Betty Jane candies.

“If there’s an entrepreneur who wants to sell something in our stores, let us know,” Charlie added. “We want to try to offer them a place for that.”

Of course, Hartig is centered around health care, and the company prides itself on keeping that caring customer service strong in that aspect of the business too.

“We offer flu shots. We do Medicare billing for medical equipment and supplies,” Charlie noted. “We deliver in town. We offer med packing and mail out prescriptions. These are fantastic services and we want our customers to know we’re happy to do it for them.”

Customers can even expect to see Charlie, and maybe Wes, in the pharmacy from time to time. Charlie said he is often the substitute pharmacist for when his employees are out.

Hartig Drug in Prairie du Chien employs four staff members in its pharmacy and three in the retail section of the store. It is one of 22 stores, including the latest acquisition just announced in Preston, Iowa. For more information, visit hartigdrug.com, or call the local number at 326-2581.

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