Mary Venier (right) and colleague at the perfume counter.
Theatre Pharmacy founder Ettore Venier, also known as Big Ted, takes a customer call.
Theatre Pharmacy is also the only independent pharmacy in Lexington. We are proud of our history -- Theatre is a family pharmacy. In 1935, Ettore P. Venier, R. Ph. opened his pharmacy when he couldn’t find a full time job. “Throughout the Depression years, the store prospered, even with competition from seven other pharmacies in town,” said current owner Chris Venier. “And we are the last one standing.”
After World War II many of Lexington’s young adults came back to their hometown to start families. They returned to Theatre Pharmacy with their own children and introduced the third generation of customers to the store. Today, many of those children are adults raising families in Lexington and returning to the pharmacy of their childhood.
The store has had three locations within the same block of Massachusetts Avenue. With each move it added floor space. In the second location, where the current stationary store is, Venier remembers the soda fountain of his youth. In 1952, at the age of 12, he started working after school, wearing a white coat, scraping gum off the stools and serving up sodas. The store then represented its time with a tobacco counter, candy counter with jars of candy purchased by weight, as well as the pharmacy counter.
In 1962 Chris Venier graduated from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and joined his dad in the family business. Chris Venier shares that he had the ideal situation with his dad at the helm until he turned 28, and in 1968 he took over the business.
“My dad was a tremendous mentor. He really believed in service and did a great job of teaching me. I was very lucky to get to work with him,” said Chris Venier. The elder Venier worked part time with his son until he retired completely in 1975. Older customers might remember both father and son working together.
Today, we are still very much a family oriented company. In his early twenties, Stevie Camelio joined us part-time while studying at UMass Boston. Inspired by the work at the Theatre Pharmacy, he then decided to become a pharmacist. Thirty years later and Stevie is one of the pharmacists our customers enjoy interacting with. From Stevie to Eric to David, we provide a consistency in care and service due to the tenure of our staff. The faces at Theatre Pharmacy don't change that much!
Theatre Pharmacy was a popular Lexington gathering place.