Rexall Drug, Inc.
Rexall Drug, Inc.
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Rexall Drug, Inc.
February 20, 1948 (red)
July 25, 1949 (green)
American Bank Note Company
11 1/2" (w) by 7 1/2" (h)
Rexall was the brainchild of Louis Kroh Liggett, a Detroit patent medicine salesman who created a manufacturing cooperative for franchised drugstores at the turn of the 20th century. Liggett's marketing genius enabled independent druggists to profit from enhanced store and product identity combined with national advertising. While the cooperative venture endured for decades, the brand name survived even longer. Today, many bright orange and blue Rexall Drug signs remain on buildings across the U.S. because of their iconic appeal.
In 1898, 23-year old Liggett was working out of Boston, Massachusetts, urging the retail drug trade to sell a bottled tonic called "Vinol" made from wine and cod livers. The nostrum had been sold on the open market with only fair success until Liggett fielded the idea for a limited franchise plan that would help eliminate the self-destructive practice of price cutting. Approaching the leading druggist in each town, Liggett offered an agency contract for Vinol. In return, the drugstore would enjoy company sponsored local and national advertising as well as a monopoly on repeat sales in his area. The plan was well received and proved to be a winner.
As Vinol sales soared, instilling confidence in the new method of distribution, Liggett proposed forming an organization to manufacture and distribute a broader range of products. Each shareholder would participate in profitability, both from the manufacturing division as well as retail sales. Discussions centered around formulating drug items from quality materials, labeling with a uniform trade-name, and selling under a “money-back” guarantee. The products would be sold to stockholders at a modest advance over cost that included ample margin to secure advertising. Liggett was encouraged by the responsive chord he struck in the minds of druggists he surveyed, and his new cooperative plan was soon presented for capitalization.
In the fall of 1902, a group of drugstore owners and other investors met in Chicago. Forty of them, including Liggett, agreed to purchase stock in the amount of $4,000, creating $160,000 capital to launch the new company. The organization was chartered as United Drug Company, and “Rexall,” signifying “King of all,” was registered as the primary trademark. A small factory building in the Roxbury district of Boston was leased, production and printing machinery installed, and amazingly, the first orders of Rexall proprietary medicines were shipped in mid-March 1903.
A candy making department was the next installation, followed by one for perfumery in 1905. Stationery and fountain supplies were added in 1910, rubber goods in 1912, brushes in 1913 and hospital items in 1919. Following World War I, sales greatly exceeded the Boston plant’s production capacity, leading to construction of new factories in St. Louis, Missouri that were opened in 1920. That same year United Drug Company expanded their business in the United Kingdom by purchasing Boots Pure Drug Co., Ltd. for $10 million. With laboratories and main offices in Nottingham, the deal also included 627 “Boot’s Cash Chemists” shops and four manufacturing plants in England and Scotland. Ownership of these stores and factories continued until 1933 when British interests repurchased the Boots stock for $32 million.
Rexall’s version of the "One Cent Sale" (two items for the price of one, plus 1 cent) was introduced nationally in 1915 (see more here); and by late 1920 the number of Rexall agents worldwide reached 10,000. The famous One Cent Sales and other unique promotions helped the company and most of the franchised dealers survive the depressed economy during World War I and throughout the 1930’s.
Justin Whitlock Dart became president of United Drug Company in 1943. Within four years he moved headquarters from Boston to Los Angeles and altered the corporate name to Rexall Drug Company. His plan embraced three far-reaching objectives: modernized packaging, improved Rexall store and product identification, and augmented national advertising. Rexall-sponsored radio shows such as Jimmy Durante, Amos 'n' Andy, and Phil Harris & Alice Faye, along with television specials and full-page magazine and newspaper ads contributed greatly to Rexall achieving immense popularity and patronage. The hearty greeting, “Good Health to all From Rexall” was a standard on radio and TV programs. All points of Dart's plan were gradually achieved and “Rexall” became a household word that equaled “drugstore” in common usage.
In the 1950's many large companies began to diversify with the growing economy, and Rexall Drug was no exception. Primary acquisitions were in chemicals and plastics, including the purchase of Tupper Corp. in 1958 for $16 million. A corporate name change to Rexall Drug and Chemical Company took place in 1959, and expanding interests prompted yet another metamorphosis ten years later to Dart Industries, with Rexall Drug Company organized as a division.
In 1977, Dart Industries sold Rexall Drug Company to a group of private investors that eventually eliminated the franchised dealerships. Rexall products were promoted to a larger market, including super drugstore chains, and the original character of the Rexall manufacturing/distribution system vanished. The drastic change in marketing policy didn’t last long. By 1986 the Rexall Corp. factory in St Louis closed and remaining assets were sold to an investment group in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida that specialized in vitamin supplements.
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Are the certificates offered on your site genuine or reproductions?All of the certificates you see on our site are genuine pieces, we do not sell any reproductions.
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No. All of the pieces we sell are either canceled or obsolete and have collectible value only.
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We ship all orders via the United States Postal Service. Most domestic orders are shipped via Ground Advantage. USPS International, Priority and Express Mail, UPS and DHL services are also available, and costs are calculated during checkout. Current charges may be reviewed here.
Can I return my purchase?
Absolutely. You may return any merchandise, for any reason, within 30 days of the purchase date for a full refund of the purchase price.
We guarantee all of our pieces to be authentic. If you ever determine that a piece is not authentic, it may be returned for a full refund of the purchase price as well as any associated shipping charges.
If your order exceeds $35, and the shipping address is within the United States, shipping via USPS Ground Advantage is FREE!
We make every effort to ship out all orders within 24 hours of receipt.
We ship the majority of orders via the USPS, with domestic orders using the Ground Advantage service.
Shipping is calculated during checkout. Upgraded services such as Priority and Express Mail, as well as UPS and DHL options, are also available.
As soon as your order is shipped you will receive your tracking information via email.
OVERSEAS ORDERS PLEASE NOTE THAT WE DECLARE FULL ORDER VALUE ON ALL SHIPMENTS. CUSTOMER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL VAT/CUSTOMS CHARGES.
Our goal is to make sure every item you receive is exactly what you had in mind. If you not happy with your purchase, we’ll help you get it sorted in a timely and professional manner.
You can return anything we offer for an exchange, refund or store credit within 30 days of delivery. Return shipping costs may apply, and the item must be in its original condition and packaging.
Any shipping charges collected on the original order are not eligible for a refund.