When Abdul Qaiyum, a young Pakistani immigrant and recent pharmacy school graduate, discovered Merz Apothecary in 1972, the Swiss German drugstore was on the verge of closing permanently after nearly a century in business. Qaiyum bought the store from the founding family and has run it ever since, transforming a modest purveyor of homeopathic remedies into a retailer that combines modern business savvy with old-world nostalgia. An additional fun fact about Merz Apothecary: Founded in 1875, it’s the oldest business we’ve featured to date.

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