Four Generations of Collins' Celebrate 85 Years in 2016
Collins Pharmacy and Collins Medical Equipment Through the Years:
August 1931: The height of the Great Depression. Tom Collins, Sr. received a "bonus" as a WWI veteran and decided to start his own drug store right across the street from where he, his wife, and son, Tom Jr. lived—the Garden Apartments. The neighborhood enjoyed the soda fountain and social atmosphere of the drug store at 2804 Fairfield Avenue in those early days, and then Pearl Harbor rocked the world and our little neighborhood, as most of the Black Rock boys went off to fight in the war.
July 1963: Tom Collins, Jr. realized the tiny drug store was too small to support two families and convinced his father to move next door to quadruple the size of the store. In 1975, Jack Collins graduated from the UCONN School of Pharmacy and soon realized that the parking situation on Fairfield Avenue would hamper the plans to develop the business into a pharmacy and home medical equipment center. Fortune struck during this period, as Collins Pharmacy became the only pharmacy in Black Rock with the loss of three strong competitors.
July 1981: This was our biggest and boldest move yet, as we took all of our savings and invested in the $150K purchase and remodeling of the old circular Shell gas station up the street. Plenty of parking and more square footage for expansion into home medical equipment allowed the business to explode in the 80s with double digit growth each year. We quickly outgrew the 2,400 square feet and started to strategize our next move as the 80s came to a close.
October 1990: A $250K expansion project was initiated and included a 1,200 square foot addition, basement, 2nd floor office space, and total remodeling of the interior and exterior. That was the most challenging period in our history, as we remained open and continued to provide service during the construction.
June 1992: Jack Collins and Sue Brannelly opened Collins I.V. Care in a small, walled-off section of the pharmacy. That wall moved three more times in the next 5 years as our home infusion business took off beyond our wildest dreams throughout the state of CT.
April 1997: Genox Homecare, Collins Pharmacy, and Collins I.V. Care merged to become the AM Health Group. At that time, we were the largest independently owned home healthcare company in the state with four locations, 100+ employees, and revenues of $20M. We opened our 10K square foot corporate headquarters in the Lordship section of Stratford in August 1999. Collins Pharmacy expanded back into the space vacated by Collins I.V. Care and broadened its HME, med-surg, and prescription compounding capabilities. With the elimination of lottery tix, utility payments, candy, seasonal merchandise, toys, gifts, stationery, and cosmetics, we were able to focus on our core competencies: pharmacy and home healthcare.
June 2002: We sold our prescription department to CVS and focused on our medical equipment department. In June 2005, we sold our building on Fairfield Avenue and moved to our existing facility on Kings Highway in Fairfield under the Collins Medical Equipment banner.
There are other accomplishments and trailblazing events that we are very proud of, including being one of the 1st community pharmacies in the state to computerize in 1979, and to ban the sale of tobacco products in 1989. We are, however, most proud of the relationship we have developed with our wonderful community of greater Bridgeport and of the hundreds of Black Rock kids who we hired and exposed to enduring virtues of hard work, honesty, and integrity.