Corktown lures pharmacist to launch own community-focused store

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit — It’s been a longtime dream for Ali Khocheiche to open and run a pharmacy of his own.

After managing chain and independent pharmacies for nearly a decade, Khocheiche, himself a pharmacist  plans to open Corktown Apothecary, a pharmacy and general store at 1444 Michigan Avenue.

“I want to be able to dictate the service and the care that I give the patients and the customers,” he said. “Also, working in an historic building like this and providing that old-time hospitality, which I love to do in an historic building, it’s a perfect fit for it.”

Khocheiche, 33, of Dearborn said he chose Corktown because he saw a need in the neighborhood.  There isn’t a pharmacy in the neighborhood, a search found.

Ali Khocheiche, the owner of Corktown Apothecary, prepares products at the pharmacy and general store in Corktown, said he and his wife, Tamara Khocheiche, saw a need for a neighborhood pharmacy.

He and his wife, Tamara, had their eye on the building for months while frequenting the area and leaped at the chance when they saw the space, which previously housed a bodega, had opened up.

“We used to walk by the building for, I’d say almost a year,” said Tamara Khocheiche. “He’d be like, ‘This would be the perfect spot. Perfect spot.’ He saw it opened up, he called the landlord and here we are. He made it happen.”

Ali Khocheiche said he expects the store and its pharmacy services to fully open by September.

Corktown Apothecary, a new pharmacy and general store, is scheduled to fully open in Corktown in September.

Corktown Apothecary comes as other development are taking place downtown. Under construction across the street is the 227-room Godfrey Hotel Detroit slated to open in spring 2023. Down the street, there’s the 270-unit Perennial Apartments, scheduled to open in fall 2023.

“A lot of developments is happening,” Ali Khocheiche said. “The hotel down the street, the apartments down the street. All the condos behind us. Ford and Google coming to the train station down the street.”

In a 1,700-square-foot first floor space has a high ceiling with the original tin tile and the tile flooring has been restored. Khocheiche has also begun to outfit the store with furniture pieces from pharmacies of a bygone era. An apothecary cabinet features the names of many of the natural ingredients prescribed for ailments including rosehips, opium, menthol and camphor.

Tamara Khocheiche, an accountant, will help her husband with bookkeeping and researching product. The store will carry beauty, health care and household items in the front of the store while the pharmacy will be located toward the rear.

“We're going to try to source locally,” she said. “We definitely want to support other businesses in the area and we know a lot of businesses in the area that actually make natural products.”

Caitlin Riney, owner of men’s clothing store George Gregory a few doors down, said the pharmacy will be a welcomed addition to the neighborhood.

“I definitely think the more we have in Corktown, the better,” she said. “The more we can walk to through the neighborhood is beneficial. I personally get my prescriptions filled in Grosse Pointe. It will be convenient that they will be right down the street from me … As far as the apothecary stuff, the more retail the better.”

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN