By Dan Rankin
When Cathy Forster took over ownership of Jackson’s Pharmacy in 1976, you could get a package of tissues for 10 cents, a tube of tooth paste for 88 cents, and two toothbrushes for a dollar. Last Friday, very little had changed. Prices on those and some other products were marked back to those (Pierre) Trudeau-era levels, as Forster celebrated her 40 year anniversary with a ceremony under a tent in the Jackson’s Jones Street parking lot.
Among the many of photos and Polaroids on display showing the business and its customers over the years were some images from the ribbon-cutting ceremony honouring Forster’s 25th anniversary as owner, featuring her standing alongside former St. Marys Mayor Jamie Hahn. Hahn was on hand once more last Friday as emcee for the event
He told the story of how Forster took ownership of Jackson’s pharmacy from original owners Hugh and Ab Jackson in 1976, after spending several years working at drug stores in Stratford and St. Marys. One of her old bosses, Jack Ross, who later became one of her employees was among the crowd of friends and family gathered under the tent on Aug. 19.
At that time, Jackson’s was at the corner of Queen and Water streets, where Coffee Culture is located now. It moved to its current location at the corner of Wellington and Jones streets in 1988.
Also speaking and presenting gifts to Forster in recognition of her “ruby” anniversary milestone were Guardian and IDA president Andrew Parkes, Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece, MP John Nater and Deputy Mayor Jim Craigmile, who spoke on behalf of the Town of St. Marys.
“Cathy is continually committed to this town with every endeavour that she takes on,” Craigmile said, adding that Forster “is a real pillar in the downtown core and the community.”
Taking the mic, Forster thanked all those in attendance and said she has enjoyed her time as a business owner in St. Marys thanks to her “super” staff and customers.
To cap off the day, she made gift presentations to the Teddy Bears’ Reunion and the St. Marys Memorial Hospital Foundation. To the foundation, it was a nice round number — $1,000 for every year she’s been in business.