A young man’s dream of opening a drug store 65 years ago turned into a longstanding family business that continues to serve the community.
On Nov. 17, Moore’s Home Health & Medical Supply celebrated the milestone with an open house, giveaways, and refreshments. While the celebration was something third-generation owner Sarah Cotner looked forward to putting on, she credited her grandfather for laying the foundation for it.
“It’s pretty great the fact that it’s a third-generation business, and we’ve been on the same corner for 65 years. It’s a testament to what my grandfather (the late Don Moore) started and my mom (Janet Moore) continued and also just the community that’s always supported us,” said Cotner. “We try to be there for them, and they’ve always been there for us. We’re just really lucky to be where we are and to have the customers that we have.”
The store got its start in 1955 at the hands of Don, who was in his early 20s, had three children, and was one year out of Purdue University. Don moved to Kokomo from Marion to start the drug store, which opened under the name Moore’s Rexall Drug Store in the location it’s at now, on the corner of Markland and Courtland avenues.
In addition to offering a pharmacy, Don added a soda fountain in the 1960s that was popular back in its early days. Janet said the soda fountain was the place to be and drew in kids who hung out after school and factory workers who stopped by on their lunch breaks.
Because Don was so busy running the store, Janet remembered going to the soda fountain with her mother and two siblings to eat so they could have dinner with him.
Janet grew up in the store before joining the business. In 1983, she left her job at then-St. Joseph Hospital to work fulltime and help grow the drug store, and she later became the second-generation owner. She had her own daughter, Cotner, who, like her, grew up in the store.
In 2000, the pharmacy was sold to CVS, and the Moores turned their focus to the home medical equipment part of the business.
Over the years, Cotner remembered all of the jobs she’d had at the family-owned business, from dusting shelves and gift wrapping to running the front register and handling insurance billing.
While the store played a big role in her life growing up, she never imagined it would eventually become her career. After high school, Cotner moved away and attended college, but between her junior and senior years, she returned to Kokomo to work fulltime at the store. And just over a year ago, she took over as the third-generation owner.
“I didn’t even think I’d stay in Kokomo, but I left and lived overseas for a little while. I lived in Indianapolis for a little while, and, like a lot of people, I came back home. I think when you get out and see the world, you can appreciate your home a lot more and understand why people come back home and decide to stay there,” Cotner said.
Since Cotner has been involved with the store, she said there have been so many changes in regard to options for home health equipment. With all that’s available today, it’s easier for people to stay in their homes as they age. Canes and walkers are lighter, and chair lifts and scooters are more maneuverable and user-friendly. And there are plenty of customizations and accessories to boot.
Cotner attributed the store’s longevity to her family and staff’s commitment to serving the community as best as possible.
“[My grandfather] just really wanted to have a business that served the community and could provide what they needed, and from him through my mom to me, we’re constantly having to make adjustments to the business and what type of products we carry and what types of services we’re providing to stay with the changes,” Cotner said. “So that’s probably it, being adaptable to the marketplace and the industry that we’re in, making sure we’re changing with the times and changing our product selections to meet what people need.”
Moore’s Home Health & Medical Supply is located at 608 W. Markland Ave.