Caring has been in our chemistry for nearly a century
In 1925, the Medical Dental Building opened at Olive and 5th Ave. in Seattle, and Kelley-Ross Pharmacy began with a partnership between A.E. Kelley and Harry Ross. The 17-story building housed approximately 100 physicians, dentists and other health care practitioners and quickly became the premier healthcare facility in Seattle.
In the 1950s, the second generation of Kelley-Ross, led by Al Kelley and Ross’s son-in-law, A.E. Katra, grew the business to become the largest-volume prescription pharmacy west of the Mississippi River with 16 pharmacists filling more than 1,000 prescriptions daily.
The Kelley-Ross laboratory was a large part of the business. Some products were listed in the Redbook and Bluebook (annually printed pharmacy catalogs) and sold across the country. At the same time, two motorcycles with sidecars buzzed through the streets of greater Seattle, delivering medications to our patients.
By the mid-1960s, the population of physicians in the building saw a decline due to the opening of large, new clinics in the region and the partnership was sold to Rod Sampson and Artie Buerk in 1968. Under the new ownership, the company remodeled the pharmacy, emphasizing Over The Counter (OTC) medicines, cards and gifts. We also expanded to two additional locations. John Oftebro joined the firm in 1973 and purchased Buerk’s stock. In 1976, Sampson sold his interest to Oftebro who continued to expand our services to include a hospice pharmacy network, TENS (Trans Electrical Nerve Stimulator), compounding, and mail-order contracts.
In 1983, we partnered with John Ambrose and Steve Gattis to purchase Shepard Medical Supply, calling it Shepard/Kelley-Ross. We relocated the Durable Medical Equipment division there, delivering oxygen and home medical equipment to hospitals and nursing homes. Around this time, we began offering home-infusion services and developed a partnership with Kimberly Home Health Care, called Kimberly-Ross Infusion Services.
In 1989, Union Center Pharmacy opened in the Teamster Building at 552 Denny Way, expanding our contract pharmacy business, and a year later, we opened the Kelley-Ross Grosvenor House Pharmacy nearby. This business grew rapidly and eventually was sold to manager and partner, Bob Rhinehart who changed the name to Cornerstone Pharmacy. In that same year, Kelley-Ross purchased Island Prescriptions on Mercer Island.
In 1996, Peterson’s Pharmacy joined the Kelley-Ross family, which was located on Sixth Avenue in the Medical Dental Building. This brought two key long-term care accounts to the business and facilitated our move back to the original Kelley-Ross location.
We further expanded the business the following year with the purchase of Bruner’s Pharmacy in The Polyclinic, renaming it Kelley-Ross Pharmacy—Polyclinic. The year 2004 saw a major handoff. Ryan Oftebro joined the firm as a partner, assuming significant responsibilities including our residency program and extensive partnerships with both University of Washington and Washington State University’s student rotation programs.
In 2005, the Teamster building was sold, initiating the move of Union Center Pharmacy to Eastlake. As we were already using robotics, the new space for “Rita the Robot” allowed ample room for the 2006 purchase of Standard Drug in Spokane. The move to Eastlake also significantly increased our contract mail-service.
2006 saw a huge increase in long-term-care services at the downtown location, including the adoption of robotic dispensing for our AIDS/HIV patients. Also in November 2006, the 2200 Westlake location opened above the new Whole Foods market to take advantage of the huge population growth potential in the South Lake Union and nearby areas.
In 2008 we initiated our Concierge Travel Clinic. Just prior to launching the new Travel Clinic, Brian Beach and Ryan Hansen joined as partners in the firm. The Cornerstone Pharmacy Services also returned to Kelley- Ross that year from the former Grosvenor House location. This allowed the move of the long-term-care business to Eastlake adjacent to Union Center Pharmacy.
December of 2008 also marked John Oftebro’s retirement from the firm, turning over the balance of management responsibilities to his son, Ryan Oftebro, Brian Beach and Ryan Hansen.
In 2012 we took the opportunity to relocate our Polyclinic Pharmacy into the newly built Madison Center Polyclinic location.
During 2014, Scott Herzog rounded out the partnership, bringing together four friends with a single desire: to build the future of Pharmacy. Also in 2014 we completed the build out of our state of the art compounding laboratory inside the M-Street building on First Hill and moved our compounding pharmacy to that location.
In 2022, we closed Union Center Pharmacy and we opened our newest location on Capitol Hill and are excited to be partners with the Seattle LGBTQ+ Center there.