Featured Partner: Modern Apothecary

4/24/2016 - Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Staff

Downtown, Featured Partner, Shopping
owner Dr. Erin Merritt, Modern Apothecary in Downtown Kenosha
essential oils, customer, Modern Apothecary in Downtown Kenosha

One of the most defining characteristics of Downtown Kenosha is the growing collection of locally owned small businesses, with the owners and their employees dispensing good old-fashioned, personal customer service along with their often-times unique products. Modern Apothecary is one such business, with pharmacist and owner Dr. Erin Merritt in the store aisles, dispensing advice and medicine. Contemporary medicine and old-fashioned care are at the heart of the full-service pharmacy, which opened in November 2014. The business is part-pharmacy and part-gift shop.

Modern Apothecary is located at 4924 Seventh Avenue. According to its website, “Modern Apothecary is a locally owned, independent modern pharmacy, with the hospitality of an old time apothecary. Pharmacy offerings include: Compounding, Immunizations, Natural Products, Over the Counter items, Personalized Medication Consultation and Home Delivery.”

“We can fill real prescriptions. We are a real pharmacy. With real insurance,” Erin says. She estimated she’s asked that about four times a day. Perhaps because the prescriptions are hidden behind the décor! You walk up to the pharmacy counter, and it feels like you’re in another century. Old-fashioned apothecary jars and other items line the shelves. Many of the items were acquired by Erin from a museum in South Dakota. Since opening, people have also brought her items they have found in their basement or grandma’s attic. “We create a home for them,” she says.

The overall atmosphere is very art deco. Erin’s aunt made the stained glass pieces that are at the pharmacy counter. Local artist Dean Tawwater created the exterior murals, and added his talents to the interior as well. “I wanted it to be a welcoming and friendly place where people could feel comfortable coming in and talking and not being the white coats … where you’re stuck behind a counter,” Erin says. Indeed, she can be seen on the floor, answering questions and talking with people. There’s even a kids’ area to keep the kids entertained for a few minutes while their parents shop.

In addition to prescriptions, Modern Apothecary offers natural products and gifts. Local items include Perennial Soaps (vegan and palm oil free) made in nearby Racine and Mercury Essentials bath bombs made in nearby Mt Pleasant. Along with typical pharmacy items, peruse the shelves and you’ll also find beard products, gluten-free candy, greeting cards, essential oils, health-related books and pamphlets, aromatherapy diffusers, and even pet pharmacy items.

Born and raised in Kenosha, Erin completed her undergraduate work at UW-Parkside, UW-Milwaukee, Carthage College, and Gateway Technical College. In 2009, she completed a four-year doctorate program at a pharmacy school in Downers Grove, Illinois – Midwestern University. She worked at other pharmacies before opening Modern Apothecary, her first business. “I’ve always had a dream of opening my own pharmacy.”

Erin took an 1898 building and turned it into what she wanted. She was drawn to the building because of its history – it was once home to a pharmacy – and for its “great location”. “It took a long time to renovate it,” she says. “The building was really, really ugly. It had really good bones. Really ugly. Needed a lot of work.” The hard work paid off. In April 2015, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation recognized the best downtown revitalization projects of 2013-2014 at its 24th Annual Wisconsin Main Street Awards ceremony. Modern Apothecary was named the winner of the Best Façade Rehabilitation Project Over $7,500 category. “I was honored to receive it,” Erin says. “It was a surprise.”

Being an independent pharmacist is bound to be challenging. However, Erin shares the upside: “I like being independent. I like being able to make choices that are best for the patients and not necessarily best for ‘the company’ or, you know, ‘the management’.” She has freedom to integrate natural products with prescription medications – natural products that can’t always be found at a traditional pharmacy.

How did Erin come up with the name of the business? She wanted to “signify the blending of the old with the new. So the traditional, natural remedies, homeopathic remedies, along with the modern, typical pharmacy.” Next time you’re in Downtown Kenosha, stop by and see what Dr. Erin Merritt offers at Modern Apothecary. Shop Local!

(262) 997-9573,

April 2016


Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Staff

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