The Wentz Pharmacy building was built in 1912. It housed Stukey's Pharmacy on the west half of the building, and a grocery on the east half. The pharmacy served as the village's first post office, with Stukey as the postmaster. In 1925, Roy Wentz Sr. bought the building and began operating Wentz Pharmacy in the west half of the building. The east side of the building was occupied for a time by Klingbeil’s grocery and Willard Restaurant, but in 1933 Wentz expanded the store to encompass both sides of the building. In 1938, Wentz Pharmacy was called the “finest neighborhood drugstore in the United States” by Eli-Lilly Pharmaceuticals. Generations of Bexley residents agreed. The store also received attention when, in 1933, manager Ralph Sears made a refrigerator to keep medicines cold. This attracted the attention of several national companies such as GE and Whirlpool.
The store and the soda fountain inside became a fixture for the entire community, especially for students of the local high school. Graduates of the Bexley High School Class of 1938 stopped in during their 50th class reunion to see if the initials they had carved into the front windows as seniors were still there (they were). The store also offered delivery for ice cream and medicine. The store had several Harley Davidson motorcycles with refrigerated compartments that were used for the deliveries. Dry ice kept the contents cold. By 1940, the store was making 250 deliveries a day.
Roy Wentz Sr. was involved with the store up until a few years before his death in 1988. His son, Roy Wentz Jr., also managed the store. The store closed in 1989 and the building was sold. In 1991, Graeter’s Ice Cream moved into the building. To pay homage to Wentz Pharmacy, they restored the building’s molded tin ceiling and installed exterior signage similar to the original. At 102 years old, the building continues to bring happiness to people of all ages.
Photos Courtesy of Mary Wentz and Bexley Historical Society
“Only Memories Will Remain of Wetnz Drugstore” by Jill Riepenhoff, Columbus Dispatch, Page B , May 2, 1989
“Historic Building to Get New Life” by Heidi G. Edens Bexley This Week, pages 1 and 5, March 11, 1991
“Part of Bexley History Leaves with Wentz” by Ken Drenten, Eastside Messenger, pages 1 and 2, May 8, 1989
“Saying Goodbye to Home, History” by Sue Ostrowski, Bexley News, page 1 and page 19, April 12, 1989