One of Gene’s earliest employees, recalled the early days at Civic:
“He always had his white jacket on in those days, and he’d hop out from that pharmacy counter in a second and deal with whatever concerns the customer had. If someone had a problem and you make a refund with a frown and a bad attitude, that doesn’t do you any good. He would go out and give ‘em a refund and a pat on the back and say ‘if you don’t like it, bring it back again.’”
Gene worked in that first store from morning until night. He paid attention and listened to his customers and his employees. Gene had phenomenal instincts about what people wanted and he gave it to them. “My dad used to come to the store, and he would go up to each employee and say, ‘Is he treating you right?’ ‘Is he paying you enough?’ My dad was a character,” Gene said.
From Civic to Arbor Drugs
Civic Drugs quickly became a powerhouse and Gene was living the American dream. After the first store, Gene began to expand. In 1974 he brought together six stores in the metro Detroit area, including his original Civic Drugs, to form the iconic Arbor Drugs.