La Verne Magazine
"La Verne's Small-Town Businesses"
The Man Behind the Medicine
by Louise Glanzrock
photography by Summer Herndon
In a building similar to an old fashioned schoolhouse, Bob Mastro has
made a prescription for success. Mastro, who fought against the massive
size of the Edward's Cinema when it was being constructed, now concedes
that the theater has not hurt his business. Bob Mastro's Pharmacy opened
Bob Mastro will always have a piece of his father and his childhood
within him, for it was through these two things that he discovered his love
of the pharmacy.
"I had an excellent background and a wonderful upbringing,"
A lot of people may recognize Mastro as the "crusader" who
fought the Edward's Cinema from coming in on Foothill Boulevard five years
ago. In actuality, Mastro says he was not against the theater coming in;
he was just against the size of it.
"Everybody always seems to forget that," says Mastro.
He and adjacent home owners said they did not need one theater seat
for every 10 people in town. "We could have had much more room developed
over there for restaurants. If they had cut the theater in half and put
in two or three more large restaurants, it could have been much more revenue
to the city," says Mastro.
Although the two projects had nothing to do with each other, Mastro
was in the final stages of remodeling his pharmacy when finishing construction
on the Edward's Cinema was taking place. However, the theater has not had
any effect on Mastro's business, nor has it brought him any problems, he
It all began for Mastro at the young age of 9 when he worked in his
father's pharmacy. This is a time that Mastro accredits as being the most
valuable part of his education. Leonard Mastro, Sr.'s, pharmacy at the time
was located on 1911 W. Main Street in Alhambra. Mastro worked there for
In 1969, Mastro graduated from the University of Southern California
School of Pharmacy. It was there that he earned his doctorate.
In 1974, he opened the Clark Drugs pharmacy, which was located on Foothill
Boulevard and Wheeler Avenue in La Verne. He managed it for 4 1/2 years.
He then quit and decided to open his own store. In 1979, he did just that
and has been in business ever since.
Bob Mastro's Pharmacy has been on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and
Emerald Avenue since 1982. Back when Mastro bought the property on Foothill
Boulevard, the address number was 1919. He called City Hall and in a phone
call had it changed to match his father's old pharmacy address, 1911.
Mastro is adamant about not wanting his store to look like the usual
pharmacy. He says people do not like to walk into a store and be treated
like they are in that type of environment. He says that customers prefer
the homestyle look his pharmacy provides. "It's a typical community,
corner pharmacy that caters to service," says Mastro.
At Mastro's pharmacy, the employees do special ordering. They deliver
within a two to three mile radius around the store, they offer charge accounts
and 24 hour emergency service. Customers rarely have to wait more than 15
minutes for their medication.
Mastro has many of his father's pharmacy implements, chemicals and equipment
in his store. His father worked for him up until 1990. Unfortunately, his
father died while the pharmacy was being remodeled. Although he only got
to see half of it being built, Mastro says his father liked what he saw.
Mastro's does not have a telephone automation service; customers always
get a live person when they call in. They even hand stamp their statements
to give them a personalized touch.
Another unique thing about Mastro's Pharmacy is that they do billing
for almost any kind of insurance. They also do compound prescriptions, in
which they make up a prescription from the raw, which is a rarity, and in-depth
Mastro's now offers home medical equipment, which many pharmacies do
not offer. They have a toilet and bathtub displayed in the store to show
people what is available to them. Mastro says, "There's about nothing
that I can't get."
Mastro worked in more than 60 pharmacies while he was fully employed
at Clark Drugs and Sav-on. "Of all the neighborhoods I've ever worked
in, I'd pick this one," Mastro says.
There are six other pharmacies in La Verne within a mile of Mastro's,
so people may wonder what sets his apart from all of the others? "Personalized
service. If we don't have something in stock, we'll go out of our way to
get it," says Mastro.
Something that really makes Mastro's Pharmacy special is that they take
time with their customers, which many places do not normally do. Mastro
says that if a parent comes in with a sick child, he will take care of the
prescription for her, so she does not have to bring the child into the pharmacy;
when the prescription is ready, an employee will go out and give it to the
"We try to participate in the community and give back some of what
we get from the community. We try to support the community as far as little
league and soccer," says Mastro.
Another customer benefit is that Mastro's checks the prices of competitor's
periodically and tries to stay right in there with them, so his customer's
get a fair price.
Asked what his future plans for the pharmacy are, Mastro says, "To
maintain the same personalized service and to expand into home health care
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