Eugene Applebaum does not believe in standing still. The founder of Arbor Drugs, Inc., has moved into the next phase of his career and life with the same philosophies and commitment that enabled him to reach the pinnacle of the drugstore industry.
Applebaum is now the President of the Arbor Investments Group, based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. It is a holding company that oversees Applebaum’s real estate and financial ventures.
Arbor Investments Group was formed after CVS, Inc., acquired Arbor Drugs, Inc., in
April 1998. Rhode Island-based CVS, Inc., a “Fortune 100” corporation, is the largest drugstore chain in North America, in terms of number of stores. At the time of the purchase, Arbor was ranked as the nation’s eighth largest drugstore chain, operating 208 stores and generating more than $1 billion in annual sales. Arbor held a commanding 45 percent market share position in metropolitan Detroit, the nation’s fourth largest trading area for drugstore-related sales.
A graduate of the Wayne State University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Applebaum launched his first store, Civic Drugs, in Dearborn, Michigan, in 1963. In 1974, he brought together six drugstores in the metropolitan Detroit area, including his original Civic operation, to form Arbor Drugs, Inc.
“Our employees took pride in the success of Arbor,” Applebaum noted. “At the time of the sale to CVS, more than 1,200 of our 7,200 employees owned Arbor stock. We placed people in positions where they could develop to their full potential,” the founder said. “Arbor was able to attract and retain an outstanding team throughout its 35-year growth strategy.”
In recognition of the company’s noteworthy achievements and his career as a health care visionary, Applebaum was inducted into the Retail Hall of Honors by Drug Store News in 1998. Also, Arbor was named the 1995 Drug Store News Regional Chain of the Year, the second time in six years. Applebaum was named “1995 CEO of the Year” by Financial World Magazine.
In addition to his business endeavors, Applebaum is recognized for his humanitarian and philanthropic work. In 1998, he contributed the largest individual gift in the history of Wayne State University through his major financial donation toward the construction of a new home for the university’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Also in 1998, Applebaum’s alma mater granted him an honorary Doctorate of Law degree.
In September 2001, Wayne State University Board of Governors renamed the college in honor of Applebaum’s philanthropic work at WSU, which includes his serving as a charter member and inaugural chair of the University Foundation Board. The school is now known as the EUGENE APPLEBAUM COLLEGE OF PHARMACY AND HEALTH SCIENCES. The Applebaum College building opened in the heart of Detroit in 2002. In 2008, Applebaum was instrumental in the establishment of the Wayne State University Eugene Applebaum Chair of Community Engagement, a new urban issues initiative at the university.
“My vision for Detroit is for a strengthened, more vibrant metropolitan community,” Applebaum says. “I was born and raised in Detroit, educated in Detroit and built my business in the metro Detroit area. I want to play a leadership role in assuring that future generations receive the best health care education possible, right here, and that good jobs stay in the city and surrounding communities.” In addition to his gift to Wayne State, he established the Eugene Applebaum Professorship Chair for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan Business School, where he sits on the Advisory Board of The Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.
In 1999, Applebaum and his wife Marcia announced the largest capital gift in the history of Metro Detroit’s Jewish community through the Jewish Federation’s Millennium Campaign for Detroit’s Jewish Future. This fund is expanding and beautifying the 195-acre West Bloomfield Jewish Community Campus, which is named the EUGENE AND MARCIA APPLEBAUM JEWISH COMMUMITY CAMPUS. Eugene Applebaum serves on the Board of Governors of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.
Also in 1999, Applebaum co-founded the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center in the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. Additionally, he is the co-founder of the Applebaum-Hermelin-Tauber Child Development Center in Israel; formed the Eugene and Marcia Applebaum Beth Hayeled Building and Jewish Parenting Center at Congregation Shaarey Zedek; and established the Eugene and Marcia Applebaum Professorial Chair at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.
Beaumont Hospital, in Royal Oak, Michigan, opened the Marcia & Eugene Applebaum Surgical Learning Center in May 2006. The 5,500 square-foot center is recognized as the first of its kind. Surgical teams from the United States as well as from around the world learn advanced robotic and minimally invasive surgical techniques at the center. The facility features mock operating rooms, a skills laboratory, a human patient simulator, a robotic surgical system, telesurgery, telemedicine and videoconferencing capabilities that provide medical professionals with access to the latest surgical techniques. Applebaum is a member of The Beaumont Foundation Board of Directors.
The Applebaums have provided the Mayo Clinic with several multi-million dollar gifts over the years. A seminal gift created the Mayo Clinic Eugene and Marcia Applebaum Fund for Translational Research in Neuroscience Therapeutics. Their monies support research that accelerates the testing of promising therapies for patients with diseases of the nervous system, and endow two Mayo Medical School professorships. In October 2006, in recognition of their generosity, the eighth floor of the Gonda Building at the Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota, was named The Mayo Clinic Eugene and Marcia Applebaum Neuroscience Center. Mayo Clinic is the nation’s premier neuroscience research center. In October 2006, the Applebaums also became members of the Mayo Clinic Rochester Leadership Council, a group of Mayo friends and benefactors who serve as informed advocates.
Applebaum also serves as a member of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute Board of Directors. Applebaum currently is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Friends of Israel Museum, and the Board of Trustees of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter. The endowment of the Applebaum Village – through Tamarack Camps at the Fresh Air Society’s Camp Maas in Ortonville Michigan – is another example of the activist’s widespread community support. Additionally, he is a member of the Taubman Institute Advisory Board.
Strong supporters of the arts, the Applebaums also are donors to the Michigan Opera Theatre, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall and the Detroit Institute of Arts. Their interest in fine arts is expressed in both his office and their homes. The noted philanthropists have acquired an extensive collection of twentieth-century art, many by Michigan artists.