Apotheke Spillmann celebrates its 125th anniversary

For 21 years now Simone Spillmann has been running the eponymous pharmacy on Bahnhofstrasse, in premises built in 1993. It was actually her great-grandfather, Emil A. Spillmann, who founded the business in 1897, in premises on the same site but demolished in 1991. Hence Simone is the fourth generation of her family to run the shop; even now her father comes along to help out occasionally.

Simone Spillmann explained how running it today was no easy matter, what with some doctors having their own pharmaceutical supplies and the availability of drugs on the internet. “What customers do appreciate, however,” she said, “is the personal advice they get here. You cannot get that on the internet.”

A graduate of the University of Bern, Spillmann enjoys all aspects of her work. “People come and ask me about all sorts of health problems,” she said. “And this is where my wide experience comes in.” She explained how she works the equivalent of 80 per cent of a full-time job and is assisted by manageress Sabine Schwarz on four days a week; eight part-time staff also help.

The location of the business may not have changed in 125 years, but what it sells has. In the old days apothecaries mixed their own potions; now these all come ready made. Not all medicines are available there and then, but a delivery van brings whatever is needed twice a day. What is no longer stocked is mineral water and a few other Swiss and foreign specialities.

As to who might take over the business when she decides to call it a day is not yet certain. “I have not got around to this yet as I did not want to retire at the age of 64,” she said.    

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