Spartanburg-based J M Smith Corp. will acquire Burlington Drug Co. of Vermont


Spartanburg-based J M Smith Corp. will expand its reach into eight Northeastern states in early 2017.

The company announced Tuesday it has reached an agreement to acquire Milton, Vt.-based wholesaler Burlington Drug Co. and to purchase certain retail operations assets of Pharmacy Health Services (PHS).

Under the agreement, Burlington and PHS will operate as subsidiaries of J M Smith Corp. Burlington will continue to manage its operations, customer service and sales functions out of its existing facility and PHS will continue to serve customers at existing locations.

A company official said no jobs will be lost during the merger. But new positions could be created as a result of business growth from the combined product and service offerings of both companies.

Financial details were not disclosed, but the deal is expected to close early next year.

“The Northeast has long been an important market for J M Smith Corp,” said William R. Cobb, chairman and CEO of J M Smith Corp., in a statement. “We opened a regional office in New England 30 years ago for our QS/1 customers and will now be able to offer an even greater array of products and services in New England. J M Smith prides itself on customer relationships based on trust and service, and Burlington Drug Co. will be a great addition to our business portfolio.”

Burlington Drug Co. has been in business since 1891 and family-owned since 1913. The company serves independent retail pharmacies and long-term care facilities across New England and New York.

J M Smith Corp. began as a family-owned pharmacy in 1925. The company evolved into a wholesale drug distribution company, Smith Drug Co., in the 1940s. Today, it has five divisions — Smith Drug Co., QS/1, Integral Solutions Group, RxMedic and Integra LTC Solutions — that serve independent pharmacies, institutions, government agencies and businesses across the country.

Jeff Foreman

Jeff Foreman

“Their culture is very much in line with ours,” said Jeff Foreman, president of Smith Drug Co. “They have a very family-oriented feel and they are a private company. We’ve worked with them before at various industry boards… [The merger] establishes our access to eight more states in the Northeast, a market that is very important to us.”

Foreman said Burlington’s customers will benefit from Smith Drug Co.’s new HealthyWise Pharmacy services, which includes a suite of offerings, such as clinical solutions, consulting services, long-term care solutions, market intelligence, OTC merchandising and branding solutions and an intuitive predictive ordering solution to optimize inventory.

“Part of our strategic agenda is to grow our footprint,” Foreman said. “We’re a larger company so we can offer more synergies and access… as well as scale to earn a better cost of goods.”

Foreman said he believes the merger will help the company grow its market share. J M Smith Corp. also chose to keep the “iconic” Burlington name because it “resonates” with customers.

Burlington has 120 employees in Vermont.

Foreman said the company will continue to run “somewhat autonomously.” Burlington’s management and sales teams will remain in place. The executive teams will share responsibilities and best practices.

“Our companies are cut from the same cloth — we share the same values, ethics and guiding principles,” said John Mitiguy, president of Burlington Drug Co., in a statement. “We have a long tradition over multiple generations in this business, so it was important to us to find an organization with a similar, successful history. Our customers and our employees are going to appreciate being part of J M Smith Corp.”

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