Madill’s Drugs a finalist for provincial award

Geoff Barton (left), pharmacy manager at Madill’s Drugs, assists a customer while cameraman Rob Gilfillan of Bamboo Shoots out of Saskatoon and Regina films the action.

Geoff Barton (left), pharmacy manager at Madill’s Drugs, assists a customer while cameraman Rob Gilfillan of Bamboo Shoots out of Saskatoon and Regina films the action.

by Phil Ambroziak

With more than 80 years of history, Madill’s Drugs has long been a cornerstone of the Meadow Lake community. Now, this longevity is being recognized at the provincial level.

Madill’s was recently named one of five finalists for the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce’s Community Cornerstone Award – a new award designed to celebrate small enterprises with deep roots in a community, as well as businesses that both show pride in and support the place they call home.

“We’re all really excited about it – staff, management and the ownership team,” remarked Geoffrey Barton, pharmacy manager at Madill’s. “ It’s a pretty big deal to be one of only five finalists throughout the entire province.”

Also in the running for the award are the Prairie Dog Drive-In in Carlyle, George Home Hardware in Melfort, Ted Matheson Men’s Wear in Prince Albert and Furnace Guys Home Heating and Cooling in Saskatoon. The winner, which will be determined through an online vote held throughout September and October, will be announced at the Saskatchewan Chamber’s annual ABEX Awards Nov. 1 in Regina.

“We are very excited about the potential of this new award,” noted Steve McLellan, CEO of the Saskatchewan Chamber. “It celebrates those smaller businesses which are the true heart of their communities and allows them to engage with their customers through new media. These finalists are great examples of how business and community can come together in a mutually beneficial relationship, and the ways in which business can embody the spirit of its community.”

Madill’s was one of several local businesses suggested as a possible candidate for the award by Meadow Lake and District Chamber of Commerce administrator Donna Ritco and former chamber president Gerald Pohl. From there, Burton completed the lengthy application process before eventually receiving word Madill’s had made the short list.

“This is a great opportunity for some of the locally owned, smaller businesses in the province that have been around for some time – the smaller, mom and pop businesses,” Barton continued.

Although Madill’s is currently owned by Rubicon Pharmacies Canada, the business was founded in 1930 by Harry Madill who operated the pharmacy for 41 years until his death in 1971. Madill’s wife, Emma, retained ownership until 1991 when Bill and Sheila Hart took over.

Bill Hart had already been working as a pharmacist at both the store and the local hospital for many years. The Harts sold the business in 2008.

“It’s an honour,” Bill Hart said upon learning about the nomination. “I was there for the better part of 40 years and, although Harry and Emma Madill started the business, it was Emma who was its backbone for such a long time. This is a feather in her cap.”

Hart went on to also attribute the honour to the dedicated staff that’s worked at the store throughout its 84-year existence. Barton agreed, but also reiterated his appreciation for the groundwork that was laid to get the business to where it is today.

“A lot of this has to do with both the Madill and the Hart legacy,” he said. “We’re riding on that legacy now – they definitely put years of work into establishing Madill’s Drugs as an important part of the Meadow Lake community. Win or lose, it won’t matter. Just to be involved in something this big is great. It really speaks volumes about the people who were here before us and about our efforts to maintain that reputation.”


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