In 1876, German-born brothers Louis and Julius Haag opened a moderately successful drugstore at 802 Massachusetts Avenue. To increase sales, they turned to high-volume business, cutting prices on popular items by 10 to 20 percent. The formula worked, and their strategy of “cut-price drugs” was soon copied nationwide.

Haag Drugs, Alabama Street, 1926 Credit: Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source

By the early 1900s, the firm had four stores in the downtown area, open from 7 A.M. to 11 P.M. seven days a week. After the founders died, nephew Herbert Haag took over the business before selling it in 1929. During the next two decades, additional stores opened in the city, particularly in residential neighborhoods.

In 1950, Sam B. Moxley purchased the chain and began a policy of modernization and expansion that resulted in the closing and sale of many older stores. Haag opened new larger suburban stores with an increased variety of merchandise and ample off-street parking, a move fueled by high downtown rents and consumer demands for more product diversity.

Haag’s Drugstore at 2401 East 38th Street in 1949. Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source

By 1959, Moxley’s program of modernization had resulted in a 250-percent increase in business. Haag changed hands again in 1970, and the new owners doubled the chain’s size from 40 to 80 stores by purchasing additional drug store chains. Beginning in 1980, Haag’s Indianapolis-area drugstores changed ownership four times, becoming Peoples (1980), Reliable (1989), and Osco (1993). In 2006, CVS Corporation purchased Osco drug stores and rebranded them CVS Pharmacy by 2007.

Haag Drugstore in a strip mall, 1963 Credit: Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source

Revised February 2021

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