Mason business still thrives after 65 years

Carlie Sack | Staff Writer

After about 65 years, family-owned and operated Yost Pharmacy is continuing to serve Mason.

The vast population changes that have taken place in Mason since 1945, causing an increasingly fast-paced business atmosphere, have affected Yost Pharmacy, according to the pharmacy’s president and owner Dick Yost. Dick has served the community through his business, as he watched Mason transform from a small rural town to an upbeat suburban city.

“There is no way [for Mason] to be as close-knit [as it was],” Dick said. “But, you don’t lose all perspective [of the community it used to be]. …There [are] still some of the remnants of the original [community of Mason].”

But Yost Pharmacy Manager and Treasurer Jane Yost, Dick’s wife, said that although the population change in Mason has caused a change in the business atmosphere, it has ultimately been beneficial to Yost.

“I think the population changes in Mason are one of the reasons we are able to remain successful,” Jane said. “The growth in Mason has been good for our business. But, if Mason wouldn’t have  grown, we wouldn’t have had [the competition from] all these chain [stores].”

According to Dick, the transient population of Mason has changed consumers’ reception of a small family business, depending on the customers’ previous community backgrounds.

But Pharmacist Sarah Yost McClain, daughter of Dick and Jane Yost, said while the population of Mason has drastically increased, residents are still able to enjoy a small-town feeling throughout the community, partly because of small family businesses like Yost.

“Some of [our customers] are here every day,” McClain said. “Some of them are here every week. Some customers want to know you and want you to know them. When you answer the phone, [some customers] don’t say their names — you know them by their voices.”

This loyal customer base is the one of the reasons that Yost’s business is able to flourish, according to McClain.

“Most of the things we offer, the chain [stores] can’t offer,” McClain said. “We have a number of customers who come in for the community feel or simply because they can’t find a certain brand of a product [that we have because one customer asked for it].”

Jane said Yost’s most unique aspects are related to its satisfactory personal service, like immediately delivering emergency prescriptions to customers in need.

“[The main appeal of Yost is] our personal service, that we will go the extra mile,” Jane said. “I can remember a Christmas where we got a phone call [for an emergency prescription] because somebody’s child was sick or [on a] Thanksgiving [when we] got a call as soon as we sat down to dinner. And chain stores can’t do that.”

Although Jane said the ever-changing business atmosphere of Mason causes some intensified competition between small family businesses, like Yost and larger chain stores, Yost is open to the challenges of the contemporary business world.

“Competition is good for every business,” Jane said. “It makes everybody sharper.”

According to Dick, this competition for customers’ business has changed since Yost’s start when Mason consisted of “very much country [with] less than a thousand people in town.” Dick said this country charm is the factor that caused Dick’s father, Valentine “Val” Yost, to move to Mason and found Yost in 1945.

“[Val] was a pharmacist at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, [before coming to Mason],” Dick said. “[He] wanted to get out into a little more of the countryside and Mason, at that time, was. [Yost] was a small store at the corner. We, as you did many years ago, lived above the shop: an apartment above the store.”

According to Dick, this familiarity with Yost at a young age caused him to pursue the family business in the future.

“I think you kind of grew up in it and enjoyed it,” Dick said. “[So,] it ended up the field that I followed.”

Jane said she and Dick took over Yost in 1972, and since then, many changes have been made. Among those changes, Yost has added a compounding lab, where some prescriptions are made by the Yost pharmacists, instead of being purchased from a pharmaceutical company.

“It is no longer just a pharmacy: we [provide] all of the durable medical equipment,” Jane said. “Now, [our son, pharmacist David Yost] has the compounding lab. It’s just grown.”

Besides many changes and adaptations over the years, Dick said Yost is still loyal to its basis as a family-owned and operated business.

Yost children were not necessarily expected to continue working at Yost as adults, however, according to Dick.

“[All four of our children] worked in here at one time or another when they were in school,” Jane said. “I remember once when my youngest son was ten years old, I made him put on a shirt and tie and work the register. …[But,] it was entirely up to them [to continue working at Yost as adults]. …Two [of my children] chose to take different directions. …and two of them are here.”

Jane said Yost plans to continue this tradition of operating as a family business in the future.

“I believe Dick and I will start taking a less active role over the next few years as we try to pass it on to the kids, teach them what we know and build a staff that will be able to aid them,” Jane said. “I have no doubt that our kids can continue the business.”

McClain said she feels confident that the future of Yost will continue to offer its customers outstanding personal service as a small family business.

“Hopefully, we will continue to grow and be strong into the next generations,” McClain said.