October 09, 2014

Merz Apothecary is more than just a store; it's the story of a small family apothecary that continued to care about its patrons when most pharmacies became little more than pill counters, and how that apothecary was scheduled to close for good, but another family found it beautiful enough to revitalize it and carry on its legacy.

And they carry Blackbird Incense.

Opened in 1875 by the multi-lingual Peter Merz, Merz Apothecary primarily served European patrons in their native tongues, and focused heavily on herbal medicines and traditional formulas. Eventually Merz Apothecary was passed from Peter to his children and grandchildren, until in 1972, when Peter's grandchild Ralph Merz was ready to retire, which meant Merz Apothecary would close.

But there was hope for Merz Apothecary in the form of 26 year old Indian-born pharmacist Abdul Qaiyum. Qaiyum had been working at a large drugstore chain but realized he wanted something more. Then he discovered Merz Apothecary. Reminded of his family's business and the healing traditions of his home, he fell in love with the humble apothecary and purchased it a few days later.

Qaiyum transformed Merz Apothecary to the internationally recognized store that it is today. Qaiyum realized that true health involves feeling good mentally, physically, and emotionally, and that inspired him to deepen the store's focus on homeopathic medicines, natural skincare, aromatherapy, and other personal care products from around the world. Qaiyum also expanded Merz Apothecary significantly, first with a mail order system and a larger location refinished to mimic a turn-of-the-century European apothecary, then eventually with additional locations and a world famous website,

Despite the growth and attention, the store has not lost its focus on the original Apothecary concept. The staff hails from around the world and collectively speaks seven languages. Although international customers no longer make up the majority of the Apothecary clientele, their numbers continue to grow and now draw from all around the world. Customers seek out the well-trained staff for the 137 years of health and product knowledge it has inherited. The location and people have changed over the years, but the Apothecary’s goal has remained the same: providing superior and personal service for each customer’s total well-being.

We couldn't be happier to now have our incense available at this historic, humble, and extremely knowledgeable apothecary.

Pictured: Abdul Qaiyum and son, Anthony Qaiyum