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Bill Soderlund, Sr., a US Army pharmacist

Bill Soderlund, Sr., Continues the Legacy
In 1954 my father began his studies at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. His was the first class to go from a four to a five-year curriculum. Originally a pharmacist was trained on the job in an apprenticeship program. Eventually, around 1920, the state of Minnesota implemented a licensing requirement that mandated a 2-year college degree. The length of the pharmacy course continued to expand to its present 8-year program.

Back when my father graduated there were two classes of pharmacists, full pharmacists and an assistant pharmacists. An assistant pharmacist could work without any supervision in a pharmacy. Around the 1950’s the state of Minnesota passed a law that forbid assistant pharmacists from owning their own pharmacy. The state allowed the assistant pharmacist’s to take a written test to become a full pharmacist.



My mom and dad Bill and Joan Soderlund spent time in the Army

Learning the Profession at the Soda Fountain
My dad went to work for Fred Hay Drug in North Minneapolis while he attended college. Fred was an assistant pharmacist who owned his own drugstore. Fred took and passed the test and became a full pharmacist while my dad was working for him.

While working at Fred Hay Drug, my father spent most of his time working the soda fountain. Even though he was a pharmacist intern he rarely filled any prescriptions because Fred wouldn’t allow it. But if a medication cost over $5.00 Fred would make my father present it to the customer while he hid in the back room. Back then a prescription price never changed. When a doctor wrote a prescription there wasn’t really any expiration so a patient would just keep getting the medication indefinitely.



Dad was the head pharmacist for Target

Bill Soderlund, Sr., Opens the First Target Pharmacies
My dad graduated from Pharmacy College in 1960 and did a three-year stint in the US Army as a hospital pharmacist. In 1963 he began working for Doug Dayton at the fledgling Target Pharmacy in Roseville. He opened the first 3 or 4 Target Pharmacies and eventually ended up managing the Target Pharmacy in Fridley Minnesota.

Dad was one of the first pharmacists to promote generic drugs back in the 1960’s. The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy was quite upset with him for doing so. Back then it was unheard of for a pharmacist to substitute, without a doctor’s order, a generic for a name-brand drug. But my dad held his ground and continued to dispense generics to save his patients money.




Bill, Sr., and Joan Soderlund holding great grand daughter Kayla

Mom and Dad go Into Business
Bill Soderlund, Sr., and Joan Soderlund eventually bought “Village Drug” in Northfield Minnesota in 1980. The business included a drugstore and a Bridgeman’s restaurant. My mom, Joan Soderlund, managed the restaurant and my dad ran the pharmacy. During the early 1980’s Snyder Drug was expanding rapidly and approached my dad and told him, “if you don’t become a Snyder Drug franchise we will build one right next to you”. That motivated him to partner with them.

Dad ran a successful pharmacy in Northfield and in time decided to buy another drugstore in Saint Peter Minnesota from Bob and Gary Swedberg. It was at this time that he asked me to manage the St. Peter pharmacy. He bought Swedberg Drug on September 15th, 1986 and changed the name to "Village Snyder Drug". At the time I wasn’t a pharmacist so it was a struggle to manage the pharmacy aspect of the business. My brother Pat Soderlund was a pharmacist and he ran the pharmacy and I devoted most of my attention to the front end of the drugstore.