“Claflin Company celebrates 200 years of not doing the same thing”

“The secret to longevity for independent regional acute-care distributors? “Stay nimble and alert to what is going on, not only within your company, but in the marketplace where you compete, and even the economy as a whole,” says Ted Almon.

Almon might be regarded an authority on the subject, as he is chairman of Warwick, R.I.-based Claflin Co., which celebrates its 200th birthday this year.

Claflin dates back to 1817, when Joseph Balch founded an apothecary in Providence, R.I. The Joseph Balch Company remained within the Balch family and flourished as J.B & Son until George L. and Arthur W. Claflin acquired it in 1873. Under the stewardship of the Claflin family, the George L. Claflin Company grew and by 1886 was recognized as the leading retail druggist and apothecary firm in New England.

In 1959 the company was sold by the family to a group of senior managers. Then, in 1976, as retirement age neared for this group of directors, the Almon Company acquired the business.

“The company’s long history is a point of pride and certainly something we use in marketing ourselves as a stable and viable choice of suppliers,” says Almon. “I think it also adds to our culture, esprit de corps, etc.”

But an illustrious history isn’t what defines Claflin…”

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