Rennebohm Drug Stores, Inc., brings to mind heavily buttered grilled Danishes, famous chili, phosphate drinks, Bucky burgers, pink plastic dishes, speckled red counter stools, slippery Formica booths and an entirely different era. Rennie's - or the Pharm, as it was affectionately known - had locations throughout the city of Madison, including at 676 State Street.
Rennebohm's drug stores became the largest chain in Madison, and remained so until 1980, when Walgreens purchased the company. The stores were then known as Walgreens-Rennebohm Drug Stores, Inc., until 1987 when Walgreens dropped the Rennebohm name from its Madison stores.
The Walgreens that replaced Rennebohm's still exists today, carrying on 676 State Street's legacy as a drugstore, although it lacks the menu and Formica booths of days gone by.
Oscar Rennebohm, founder of Rennebohm Drug Stores, Inc., in addition to being a successful businessman, held such titles as UW regent, president of the UW Foundation, director of the Wisconsin Alumni Association and governor of Wisconsin. He also established the Rennebohm Foundation with a small endowment for making grants to community charities and to fund scholarships for UW students. This endowment has provided more than $15 million in gifts to date.
Even though Oscar Rennebohm's drug stores are no longer dotted around Madison, his name will not be forgotten on the UW campus. The new UW School of Pharmacy, completed in 2000, appropriately bears Rennebohm's name.