Building the greatest drug store on Earth was Tong Louie’s dream and for many in Western Canada, London Drugs is exactly that.
Selling computers, software and peripherals in a drug store would not have made much sense to some people.
But Louie had a vision that his direction for the chain he acquired in 1976 would be one of the many sources for affordable technology.
London Drugs was founded by Sam Bass in 1945 and later owned by Daylin Corp. Under Louie’s leadership it became a one-stop shop for more than 10,000 products, but it was computer sales that made London Drugs a household name in retailing.
The chain sparked retail computer outlets such as Computer City, Future Shop and Best Buy.
In 1983, Louie set up the first full-service computer department in the store. The following year he launched the Certified Data computer brand, custom-built systems that were sold only at London Drugs. This also helped ignite the system builder market.
By 1988, Louie grew the business to 31 stores across B.C. and Alberta.
In 1992, London Drugs introduced audio-video systems and in 1995, he opened the first Internet café.
Louie also was honoured with the Order of Canada.