Pharmacy is one of King City Plaza original businesses

Photo Credit: BARBARA SHERMAN - THE FAMILY BUSINESS - In 1974 Mat McCann's dad Joe purchased Goodwin's, the original pharmacy that opened in 1972, and Mat took over in 1996 and has expanded the departments.McCann's Pharmacy & Medical Equipment celebrated a major milestone in August as it marked its 40th anniversary as well as a place in King City Plaza history as one of a handful of original businesses still remaining.

Most of those first businesses changed names over the years, as did the pharmacy, which opened in 1972 as Goodwin's; in 1974, Joe McCann, a Gladstone pharmacist, purchased the business, which occupied less space than its current site.

"It had a health and beauty section and some cards, but he brought in Hallmark cards, a bigger gift section and the post office," said Mat McCann, who officially joined the business in January 1996. "I remember when he got the keys and came in the night before it opened as McCann's. There were hardware bins with odds and ends of stuff."

Mat McCann grew up in the business, remembering delivering prescriptions, a service still offered Monday through Friday, on either his bike or in a car.

"After college, I opened a business in Atlanta, but I was looking for a way to segue out of that and into the family business," he said. "I came back to manage the store, and after a year, we formulated a plan for me to buy him out."

A few years after Mat McCann joined the business, he and his dad opened a second store together in Gresham that only sells medical equipment. "After three years there, we bought an old car dealership building for retail and storage space," McCann said.

In the King City, McCann has kept expanding the offerings and now has managers for the pharmacy, gifts, home health and post office departments. A former manager who did a lot of the buying for the gift and clothing department recently left, but McCann does some of the buying himself. "I just got back from an Atlanta buying trip," he said.

A popular part of the store is the candy department that sells Moonstruck and other popular brands. "We can get next-day shipping," he said.

McCann also has worked hard to expand the medical equipment department. "When I started, there were only 12 linear feet of equipment, and it's been a goal of mine to make it a bigger part of the business," he said. "I actually need more space, and I have five people working in that department and five more at the Gresham store."

According to McCann, many people have a misconception that smaller, independent stores like McCann's must have higher prices than the big chains, "but we're actually very competitive," he said, adding, "We shop the competition. Our business model is to provide competitive prices. There are buying groups and affiliations that smaller stores can join to take advantage of buying higher quantities for lower prices."

One area that hasn't changed so dramatically is the employees, with several of them there at least 10 years or more. Pharmacy manager Chris Cudahy started working at McCann's as an intern and has been there longer than any other employee.

McCann said he really enjoys interacting with customers and the staff. "I miss it when I can't do it," he said, adding that he has seen huge changes in the business since he started.

"The industry has changed over the years," McCann said. "The pharmacy used to be a huge portion of the business, but insurance companies have marginalized the profits so much that it's difficult to make much money on prescriptions. When you add labor, labels, bottles, lights, computer programs and so on, it costs us about $10 to fill a prescription, and we might make $2.50."

As for the future, McCann said that when he goes to gift shows, he likes to seek out new merchandise that he thinks would be successful in the store.

"We always try to keep things fresh," he said. "This is a unique place. We may add new departments and expand the medical area to include more home-medical supplies. We will tweak and bring in new gift lines to keep the store fun and interesting."

McCann's threw itself a Happy Anniversary party Aug. 22, providing guests with cake, punch and fresh grilled chicken plus the chance to win a Green Mountain grill in a drawing.

According to the May 1977 Regal Courier, the King City Plaza opened in May 1972 before King City was completely developed, and the original businesses that were still there five years later in addition to McCann’s were Kienow's, Benjamin Franklin Savings and Loan, Sue's Clothes Carousel, Petticoat Lane Beauty Salon, Francyne's Décor Creations, Sprouse-Reitz, Pioneer National Title Insurance, King Plaza Insurance Agency and TDC Realty.

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