Langford legacy

Community Mar 07, 2013 Flamborough Review

By Catherine O'Hara

REVIEW STAFF

It’s a warm day in June when Tim Langford, a tall and con dent man, opens the door to his majestic 5th Concession Road East home. He proceeds to make his way to the living room, where he sits to discuss the sale of his family’s business – the end of an era in Waterdown.

To the newcomer in town, Langford Flamborough IDA was probably just a pharmacy – a retail choice. To its longtime patrons, the Dundas Street East facility was so much more. Langford Pharmacy has a long history in this town, one that began in 1921 and thrived until its owner sold it to a conglomerate, which currently operates two dispensaries and retail outlets within walking distance of one another.

Making that decision, said Langford, was tough. And as he signed on the dotted line to finalize the sale of his family’s

89-year-old business in May 2012, it was almost surreal.

“It was the last store I thought I would ever sell. It’s almost like I waited for the story to change, that I didn’t have to (sell), even though I orchestrated it myself,” he said. However, now “I can say, ‘I sold it and did the right thing.’”

Just as people come and go, all that remains are memories of the business, an operation that evolved dramatically over the course of nearly nine decades.

• • •

Langford Pharmacy, as it was originally called, was established by the son of a gentleman farmer, who immigrated to the area with the goal of educating his three children.

It was Wilf Langford, who, after graduating in 1919, opened up shop in the heart of Waterdown’s Victorian Village, catering to the pharmaceutical needs of humans and animals, alike.

“His veterinary business was far more lucrative than his human business,” noted Langford of his grandfather’s rst few years in the industry. Farmers relied heavily on the local pharmacist’s services, including dispensing concoctions to ensure the continued health of their herds.

“If the horse wasn’t healthy, work didn’t get done. If work didn’t get done, and heaven forbid someone got sick, you couldn’t afford to get them better,” said Langford.

In Wilf’s early years as Waterdown’s pharmacist, strong working relationships were developed with the town’s physicians. As the area’s population grew, doctors would forgo aspects of their practice, such as formulating syrups and other potions, in order to tend to an increased number of patients. The need to create and sell phenobarbital, for example, fell on Wilf – one of many opportunities that would result in the expansion of Langford Pharmacy.

Relationships were also nurtured between Langford’s and Alton’s, the village’s grocery store. “Mr. Alton would give my grandfather on Saturday the leftover bread and leftover milk to sell,” said Langford. “They had a little gentleman’s agreement

on who would share the profits.”

Prescriptions dating back from the 20s, 30s and 40s included drugs such as phenobarbital, cocaine and Quaaludes, which were frequently dispensed at Langford’s.

“They were so crude back then,” said Langford. “When you had a neuralgia, they would give you something for the pain and maybe something with a bit of cocaine to give you a little whoa, whoa, woo.”

Those decades-old scripts, noted the Waterdown pharmacist and father of four, were all written in Latin. “They knew Latin, they could hang out with Julius Caesar” – a sign of how far pharmacology has come, he said.

Located on the corner of Dundas Street East and Main Street North, Langford’s soon became a second-generation operation, with Wilf’s son, Tom, joining the team and later purchasing the business in 1961.

Also a pharmacist, Langford’s father, Tom, would bring along changes to the practice. “I think he brought a fresh mind,” said Langford, who did his part to revolutionize the store after he took over from his dad shortly after graduating in 1989.

Tom, like all the Langford pharmacists, was keen on delivering top-notch health-care services to area residents. And if that meant taking a call and opening up shop for a worried husband about his ailing wife at 2 a.m., then so be it. But the woman, Langford recounted, was not ill, she was inebriated and needed peppermint Lifesavers to ward off a nasty hangover.

“It’s not all it’s cracked up to be,” Tom would say.

But business was business, and tending to the needs of customers was paramount.

Over the course of years, Langford Pharmacy faced hurdles not unlike other retail operations across the globe. Competition, however, remained the top challenge.

“When they started selling Tylenol in gas stations, I thought my father was going to need the Heimlich,” he said.

As society evolved, so did retailers and their business model. Pharmacies were no longer a specialized service, available in select locations. Nowadays, you’ll find a professional in a white smock dispensing drugs at local grocery stores, adjacent to walk-in clinics and doctors’ offices and even in discount superstores.

To survive, Langford’s had to stay relevant. And to do so, said Langford, was easy. “I did what I was taught to do.”

While any number of retail outlets can provide patrons with a large selection of toothpastes and other items commonly found at pharmacies, it’s the care and compassion that accompanied the delivery of health care that gave the longstanding Waterdown pharmacy an edge.

“I believe that being looked after by Langford Pharmacy was something that was ingrained in me and the community; there was an expectation and you knew you could call and you weren’t getting a corporation, you were getting a family-owned business,” said Langford. “They knew they were getting the best of the best.”

And Langford’s met the consumer’s expectations, as evidenced by its loyal clientele. Patrons’ fond memories, too, help remind Langford of his family’s success in this Victorian Village.

The tales of late-night emergency calls or the heart-warming story of a couple enjoying their first date at Langford’s soda fountain – in the early to mid 1990s – are cherished moments permanently etched in the Langford’s local history.

As he looks back on years of service, Langford struggles to identify his single, fondest memory of operating the business. Instead, what he values most are other people’s memories of his family’s contributions, however small.

• • •

The Waterdown pharmacist is packing the last of his personal belongings before turning in the key to his establishment. As he prepares to close up shop for the last time, a senior citizen shimmies his way in, seemingly being Langford’s last customer.

“I’ve come to buy my cough drops,” said the man, wearing a large hat and pants hiked up to his chest. “I buy my cough drops on Monday.” Despite being closed for business, Langford tends to the 86-year-old’s needs. Cough drops in hand, the senior reaches into his pocket to pay for his purchase.

“I said, ‘How long have you been coming here,’” recalled Langford. “I’m 86,” replied the local senior. “Well, I guess it’s about time you got something for free after 86 years,” said the pharmacist. The man smiled.

The pharmacy’s last sale amounted to nothing, but that last encounter was simply priceless.

• • •

The Review welcomes your memories of Langford Pharmacy, which will be posted online. Share your stories, photos and memorabilia here.

Langford legacy

Community Mar 07, 2013 Flamborough Review

By Catherine O'Hara

REVIEW STAFF

It’s a warm day in June when Tim Langford, a tall and con dent man, opens the door to his majestic 5th Concession Road East home. He proceeds to make his way to the living room, where he sits to discuss the sale of his family’s business – the end of an era in Waterdown.

To the newcomer in town, Langford Flamborough IDA was probably just a pharmacy – a retail choice. To its longtime patrons, the Dundas Street East facility was so much more. Langford Pharmacy has a long history in this town, one that began in 1921 and thrived until its owner sold it to a conglomerate, which currently operates two dispensaries and retail outlets within walking distance of one another.

Making that decision, said Langford, was tough. And as he signed on the dotted line to finalize the sale of his family’s

89-year-old business in May 2012, it was almost surreal.

“It was the last store I thought I would ever sell. It’s almost like I waited for the story to change, that I didn’t have to (sell), even though I orchestrated it myself,” he said. However, now “I can say, ‘I sold it and did the right thing.’”

Just as people come and go, all that remains are memories of the business, an operation that evolved dramatically over the course of nearly nine decades.

• • •

Langford Pharmacy, as it was originally called, was established by the son of a gentleman farmer, who immigrated to the area with the goal of educating his three children.

It was Wilf Langford, who, after graduating in 1919, opened up shop in the heart of Waterdown’s Victorian Village, catering to the pharmaceutical needs of humans and animals, alike.

“His veterinary business was far more lucrative than his human business,” noted Langford of his grandfather’s rst few years in the industry. Farmers relied heavily on the local pharmacist’s services, including dispensing concoctions to ensure the continued health of their herds.

“If the horse wasn’t healthy, work didn’t get done. If work didn’t get done, and heaven forbid someone got sick, you couldn’t afford to get them better,” said Langford.

In Wilf’s early years as Waterdown’s pharmacist, strong working relationships were developed with the town’s physicians. As the area’s population grew, doctors would forgo aspects of their practice, such as formulating syrups and other potions, in order to tend to an increased number of patients. The need to create and sell phenobarbital, for example, fell on Wilf – one of many opportunities that would result in the expansion of Langford Pharmacy.

Relationships were also nurtured between Langford’s and Alton’s, the village’s grocery store. “Mr. Alton would give my grandfather on Saturday the leftover bread and leftover milk to sell,” said Langford. “They had a little gentleman’s agreement

on who would share the profits.”

Prescriptions dating back from the 20s, 30s and 40s included drugs such as phenobarbital, cocaine and Quaaludes, which were frequently dispensed at Langford’s.

“They were so crude back then,” said Langford. “When you had a neuralgia, they would give you something for the pain and maybe something with a bit of cocaine to give you a little whoa, whoa, woo.”

Those decades-old scripts, noted the Waterdown pharmacist and father of four, were all written in Latin. “They knew Latin, they could hang out with Julius Caesar” – a sign of how far pharmacology has come, he said.

Located on the corner of Dundas Street East and Main Street North, Langford’s soon became a second-generation operation, with Wilf’s son, Tom, joining the team and later purchasing the business in 1961.

Also a pharmacist, Langford’s father, Tom, would bring along changes to the practice. “I think he brought a fresh mind,” said Langford, who did his part to revolutionize the store after he took over from his dad shortly after graduating in 1989.

Tom, like all the Langford pharmacists, was keen on delivering top-notch health-care services to area residents. And if that meant taking a call and opening up shop for a worried husband about his ailing wife at 2 a.m., then so be it. But the woman, Langford recounted, was not ill, she was inebriated and needed peppermint Lifesavers to ward off a nasty hangover.

“It’s not all it’s cracked up to be,” Tom would say.

But business was business, and tending to the needs of customers was paramount.

Over the course of years, Langford Pharmacy faced hurdles not unlike other retail operations across the globe. Competition, however, remained the top challenge.

“When they started selling Tylenol in gas stations, I thought my father was going to need the Heimlich,” he said.

As society evolved, so did retailers and their business model. Pharmacies were no longer a specialized service, available in select locations. Nowadays, you’ll find a professional in a white smock dispensing drugs at local grocery stores, adjacent to walk-in clinics and doctors’ offices and even in discount superstores.

To survive, Langford’s had to stay relevant. And to do so, said Langford, was easy. “I did what I was taught to do.”

While any number of retail outlets can provide patrons with a large selection of toothpastes and other items commonly found at pharmacies, it’s the care and compassion that accompanied the delivery of health care that gave the longstanding Waterdown pharmacy an edge.

“I believe that being looked after by Langford Pharmacy was something that was ingrained in me and the community; there was an expectation and you knew you could call and you weren’t getting a corporation, you were getting a family-owned business,” said Langford. “They knew they were getting the best of the best.”

And Langford’s met the consumer’s expectations, as evidenced by its loyal clientele. Patrons’ fond memories, too, help remind Langford of his family’s success in this Victorian Village.

The tales of late-night emergency calls or the heart-warming story of a couple enjoying their first date at Langford’s soda fountain – in the early to mid 1990s – are cherished moments permanently etched in the Langford’s local history.

As he looks back on years of service, Langford struggles to identify his single, fondest memory of operating the business. Instead, what he values most are other people’s memories of his family’s contributions, however small.

• • •

The Waterdown pharmacist is packing the last of his personal belongings before turning in the key to his establishment. As he prepares to close up shop for the last time, a senior citizen shimmies his way in, seemingly being Langford’s last customer.

“I’ve come to buy my cough drops,” said the man, wearing a large hat and pants hiked up to his chest. “I buy my cough drops on Monday.” Despite being closed for business, Langford tends to the 86-year-old’s needs. Cough drops in hand, the senior reaches into his pocket to pay for his purchase.

“I said, ‘How long have you been coming here,’” recalled Langford. “I’m 86,” replied the local senior. “Well, I guess it’s about time you got something for free after 86 years,” said the pharmacist. The man smiled.

The pharmacy’s last sale amounted to nothing, but that last encounter was simply priceless.

• • •

The Review welcomes your memories of Langford Pharmacy, which will be posted online. Share your stories, photos and memorabilia here.

Langford legacy

Community Mar 07, 2013 Flamborough Review

By Catherine O'Hara

REVIEW STAFF

It’s a warm day in June when Tim Langford, a tall and con dent man, opens the door to his majestic 5th Concession Road East home. He proceeds to make his way to the living room, where he sits to discuss the sale of his family’s business – the end of an era in Waterdown.

To the newcomer in town, Langford Flamborough IDA was probably just a pharmacy – a retail choice. To its longtime patrons, the Dundas Street East facility was so much more. Langford Pharmacy has a long history in this town, one that began in 1921 and thrived until its owner sold it to a conglomerate, which currently operates two dispensaries and retail outlets within walking distance of one another.

Making that decision, said Langford, was tough. And as he signed on the dotted line to finalize the sale of his family’s

89-year-old business in May 2012, it was almost surreal.

“It was the last store I thought I would ever sell. It’s almost like I waited for the story to change, that I didn’t have to (sell), even though I orchestrated it myself,” he said. However, now “I can say, ‘I sold it and did the right thing.’”

Just as people come and go, all that remains are memories of the business, an operation that evolved dramatically over the course of nearly nine decades.

• • •

Langford Pharmacy, as it was originally called, was established by the son of a gentleman farmer, who immigrated to the area with the goal of educating his three children.

It was Wilf Langford, who, after graduating in 1919, opened up shop in the heart of Waterdown’s Victorian Village, catering to the pharmaceutical needs of humans and animals, alike.

“His veterinary business was far more lucrative than his human business,” noted Langford of his grandfather’s rst few years in the industry. Farmers relied heavily on the local pharmacist’s services, including dispensing concoctions to ensure the continued health of their herds.

“If the horse wasn’t healthy, work didn’t get done. If work didn’t get done, and heaven forbid someone got sick, you couldn’t afford to get them better,” said Langford.

In Wilf’s early years as Waterdown’s pharmacist, strong working relationships were developed with the town’s physicians. As the area’s population grew, doctors would forgo aspects of their practice, such as formulating syrups and other potions, in order to tend to an increased number of patients. The need to create and sell phenobarbital, for example, fell on Wilf – one of many opportunities that would result in the expansion of Langford Pharmacy.

Relationships were also nurtured between Langford’s and Alton’s, the village’s grocery store. “Mr. Alton would give my grandfather on Saturday the leftover bread and leftover milk to sell,” said Langford. “They had a little gentleman’s agreement

on who would share the profits.”

Prescriptions dating back from the 20s, 30s and 40s included drugs such as phenobarbital, cocaine and Quaaludes, which were frequently dispensed at Langford’s.

“They were so crude back then,” said Langford. “When you had a neuralgia, they would give you something for the pain and maybe something with a bit of cocaine to give you a little whoa, whoa, woo.”

Those decades-old scripts, noted the Waterdown pharmacist and father of four, were all written in Latin. “They knew Latin, they could hang out with Julius Caesar” – a sign of how far pharmacology has come, he said.

Located on the corner of Dundas Street East and Main Street North, Langford’s soon became a second-generation operation, with Wilf’s son, Tom, joining the team and later purchasing the business in 1961.

Also a pharmacist, Langford’s father, Tom, would bring along changes to the practice. “I think he brought a fresh mind,” said Langford, who did his part to revolutionize the store after he took over from his dad shortly after graduating in 1989.

Tom, like all the Langford pharmacists, was keen on delivering top-notch health-care services to area residents. And if that meant taking a call and opening up shop for a worried husband about his ailing wife at 2 a.m., then so be it. But the woman, Langford recounted, was not ill, she was inebriated and needed peppermint Lifesavers to ward off a nasty hangover.

“It’s not all it’s cracked up to be,” Tom would say.

But business was business, and tending to the needs of customers was paramount.

Over the course of years, Langford Pharmacy faced hurdles not unlike other retail operations across the globe. Competition, however, remained the top challenge.

“When they started selling Tylenol in gas stations, I thought my father was going to need the Heimlich,” he said.

As society evolved, so did retailers and their business model. Pharmacies were no longer a specialized service, available in select locations. Nowadays, you’ll find a professional in a white smock dispensing drugs at local grocery stores, adjacent to walk-in clinics and doctors’ offices and even in discount superstores.

To survive, Langford’s had to stay relevant. And to do so, said Langford, was easy. “I did what I was taught to do.”

While any number of retail outlets can provide patrons with a large selection of toothpastes and other items commonly found at pharmacies, it’s the care and compassion that accompanied the delivery of health care that gave the longstanding Waterdown pharmacy an edge.

“I believe that being looked after by Langford Pharmacy was something that was ingrained in me and the community; there was an expectation and you knew you could call and you weren’t getting a corporation, you were getting a family-owned business,” said Langford. “They knew they were getting the best of the best.”

And Langford’s met the consumer’s expectations, as evidenced by its loyal clientele. Patrons’ fond memories, too, help remind Langford of his family’s success in this Victorian Village.

The tales of late-night emergency calls or the heart-warming story of a couple enjoying their first date at Langford’s soda fountain – in the early to mid 1990s – are cherished moments permanently etched in the Langford’s local history.

As he looks back on years of service, Langford struggles to identify his single, fondest memory of operating the business. Instead, what he values most are other people’s memories of his family’s contributions, however small.

• • •

The Waterdown pharmacist is packing the last of his personal belongings before turning in the key to his establishment. As he prepares to close up shop for the last time, a senior citizen shimmies his way in, seemingly being Langford’s last customer.

“I’ve come to buy my cough drops,” said the man, wearing a large hat and pants hiked up to his chest. “I buy my cough drops on Monday.” Despite being closed for business, Langford tends to the 86-year-old’s needs. Cough drops in hand, the senior reaches into his pocket to pay for his purchase.

“I said, ‘How long have you been coming here,’” recalled Langford. “I’m 86,” replied the local senior. “Well, I guess it’s about time you got something for free after 86 years,” said the pharmacist. The man smiled.

The pharmacy’s last sale amounted to nothing, but that last encounter was simply priceless.

• • •

The Review welcomes your memories of Langford Pharmacy, which will be posted online. Share your stories, photos and memorabilia here.