Bob Mehr lived his formative years in Iran and arrived in Vancouver, alone, when he was 17. Iran was in a prolonged war with Iraq and Bob’s parents thought it was best to send their son abroad, rather than have him enlist in the military.
After completing high school at Vancouver’s Columbia College, he delayed his post-secondary education to work in retail and consider the turns his life could take. His life took some fascinating turns.
“When I returned to school to study pharmaceutical sciences, I worked summers tree planting, first around Terrace, but eventually throughout the province,” he recalls. “That work gave me a sublime sense of nature, a sense of the planet that I’d never had before. It’s extremely hard work, but once you start doing it, you can’t stop. The air, the earth, the people – I learned so much about life planting trees. I would say that work is what made me who I am today. It made me believe nothing could ever break me.”
Bob estimates he planted 2.3 million trees in his seven years working the landscapes of British Columbia. That’s a considerable legacy, a considerable mark to leave on the planet. “If nothing else, I gave us all a lot of oxygen,” he laughs.
While at UBC, he met Mahtab, who was also studying to be a pharmacist. Soon after graduation, the couple married and moved to Prince Rupert, where Bob began work as pharmacy manager with Shopper’s Drug Mart. It was here, while at work in this rainy west coast town, a tragic incident transformed his approach to health care.
“One day, a patient called for a refill of his ulcer medication. He was complaining about tightness in his chest. I suggested he should go to the hospital, but he went to his family doctor instead. Later in the afternoon, he returned with a new prescription for his ulcer. As I began to tell him that this was the same prescription he had on file, he turned blue and then died of a massive heart attack right in front of me. There is no doubt that what he experienced in the morning was a minor heart attack.”
Reflecting on that event, he says it was in that moment he no longer saw himself as merely a dispenser of pills. He wanted to educate, to empower his patients with the gift of taking control of their health. “That poor fellow didn’t know the simple signs of a heart attack,” he says. “People need to be educated on all matters of their health in order to effectively take care of themselves.”
After leaving Prince Rupert, Bob and Mahtab moved to Vancouver Island and opened a couple small-town drug stores. It was at this time in his life he began to develop the idea of running his business as an integrative health experience. Today, he has 15 shops throughout the Lower Mainland under the brand Pure Integrative Pharmacy. At all Pure locations, prescription doses are customized to meet the needs of individual patients.”
“It’s exactly what pharmacists used to do 60 or 70 years ago before Bayer and the other pharmaceutical giants took over the industry,” he says.
But Pure is much more than a place for pills. Each story has a vast selection of all-natural vitamins, supplements, skincare lotions, topical hair restorations, nasal sprays and many other products professionally formulated to improve health and appearance. Pure also connects patients with a wide variety of health care experts.
“Certain patients may need a traditional doctor, but others may need a naturopath, or a yoga instructor. We want to facilitate these connections for our customers.”
Bob joined Terminal City Club in 2015. Most of his time at the Club is spent on the third floor. The gym, the pool, the steam room and sauna – these are the places he finds refuge.
“There is a real culture of care among the management and staff in the health club,” he says. “I feel special when I’m there.”
In September, TCC struck a partnership with Pure Integrative Pharmacy that will bring a number of benefits to the Club’s members. Regular articles discussing preventative health issues will soon appear in the monthly newsletter. As well, a speaker series will provide members with access to experts in areas from nutrition to stress relief, as well as many other facets of preventative health care. There will also be discounts for TCC members at Pure’s online store.
Bob believes this is just the beginning of what he is certain will be a mutually beneficial relationship.
“We want to align ourselves with people who want to proactively attend to their health” he says. “That’s why this is such a good fit.”
To learn more about the benefits
of the TCC’s partnership with
Pure Integrative Pharmacy, visit tcclub.com.