apothecary Detroit

Mills Pharmacy and Apothecary

Monday, April 03, 2017 Perry

We live in a world that's obsessed with places like Ulta and Sephora; mega beauty stores, your one-stop-shop to get everything to satisfy your beauty product needs (and undoubtedly, a few things you didn't even know you needed until you saw them).  This world that we live in is often pushing quantity over quality, leaving us feeling like we can never get enough.

Photo provided by d2 Publicity.

Photo provided by d2 Publicity.

Located in the quaint town of Birmingham, Michigan, Mills Pharmacy and Apothecary is a refreshing break from the overwhelming, beauty industry giants. Mills is a beautiful brick and mortar compounding pharmacy and apothecary that offers international luxury lines like Panier des Sens, Mad et Len, Mullein + Sparrow, Edwin Jagger, Binchotan and more!

We had a chance to speak with Retail Director, Rita Sayegh to learn more about Mills and their latest project, a pop-up store in Detroit, Mi.

Halfstack Magazine: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be involved with Mills Pharmacy and Apothecary?

Rita Sayegh: My technical background is in art and design. I graduated from Center for Creative Studies (Detroit) with a degree in Graphic Design. I had been running my own design practice for about 17 years, when my friend Hany Boutros asked me to take a look at a local pharmacy that he and his brother Pierre were thinking about purchasing. The project for me began as a brand development and overall project management. I was to create the look and feel of the store, and perhaps have a role as part time consultant. But as time went on and the physical manifestation of this new apothecary concept came to life, nobody knew it better than I did. I became very attached to the concept and how it should be operated. Since Hany and Pierre are Pharmacists, they really needed a creative retail counterpart to direct the retail portion. It is almost 6 years since we opened the doors to the new Mills Pharmacy + Apothecary, and I've been on board as it's Creative Director ever since!

HM: What product(s) would you say Mills specializes in?

RS: Mills apothecary specializes in unique, harder to find personal care products. I try to have a world view when selecting the assortment. I want our customers to discover something new every time they visit. I look for products that will resonate with the most discriminating shoppers; products that are beautiful on the outside and always of quality on the inside.  And having high quality items at every price point is really important to me - everybody should be able to afford a little luxury. 

HM: With so many young people fleeing the state over the past decade, in search of bigger and better jobs, how has Mills found success in a humble state like, Michigan?

RS: Well, we can't take all the credit for the history of Mills. The Pharmacy opened in 1946 by the Mills family. It has been a neighborhood staple all of these years. I think that we took that legacy and changed the view of it only being a small local mom-and-pop drug store into a world-class apothecary, pharmacy and compounding lab, that just happens to be in Birmingham Michigan. It is a very special 'local store' concept that I wanted to expand on and take elsewhere, like we did with our location at Detroit International Airport and with our new Apothecary-only concept in the city of Detroit. And we just celebrated the 70th anniversary of the business.

HM: Can you tell us about the Mills pop up in Detroit?  Why Detroit?   

RS: Detroit, for me, was the goal. I have been living in Detroit for over 20 years, dreaming of all the the city's possibilities. When I started driving to Birmingham to go to work everyday, I always felt like I left something behind. I knew that, in time, the city would make its comeback and I wanted to be there to do what I could to creatively support it. 
We had been looking for a Detroit-based home for Mills for over a year, but nothing felt right. A few months ago, a charming space right in the heart of midtown became available for a 1 year lease. We took it. It is a great way for us to test the market without making long time commitment. Basic retail services and stores, let alone a luxury apothecary are very new to the city of Detroit for many years now. If all goes as planned, we will be looking for a permanent home in Detroit in the near future.

HM: Can you tell us about your online store? 

RS: Our online store is yet another extension of taking our local store and bringing it to you, wherever you may be. I would say that we sell about 60% of the brick and mortar products online. It is a well designed, easy to navigate store with a lot of product images and information. We ship anywhere and send out samples with our online orders.
HM: What is next for Mills Pharmacy and Apothecary? 

RS: Well, most people might be content with what we've accomplished this far, but I've got another project in the works. I won't say too much about it because it's not a done-deal. But it is also in Detroit and we are really excited about the relationship between Detroit and all of the new visitors and how we help to elevate their perception of retail here. Stay tuned!

For more information about Mills and to shop their online store, check out www.millspharmacy.com!

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