In 1986 Mark Griffin followed in his father’s footsteps when he assumed the role of president and CEO Lewis Drug stores in Sioux Falls. At the time, there were only five Lewis stores in existence. Today, under his leadership there are 58 Lewis and Lewis Family Drug stores located throughout South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota.
“He has a great perspective,” said Nikki Griffin, Lewis corporate vice president and Griffin’s oldest daughter. “He always says surround yourself with the smartest and brightest people and then you empower them to make the decisions.”
“Mark is a visionary,” added Bob Meyer, Lewis senior vice president, merchandise and marketing manager. “He always tells the staff to look long. Don’t just look at today, but look at what tomorrow will bring.”
Mark’s visionary leadership is why the Sales and Marketing Executives, Inc. of Sioux Falls honored him with the 2019 South Dakota Sales and Marketing Executive of the Year award.
“He’s created a retail environment that is unprecedented in the United States of America,” said Steve Kirby, Sioux Falls business leader and founding partner of Bluestem Capital.
“The Walgreens and the Walmarts have not been able to unseat this guy as the king of pharmacy and that type of a drug store in our community and many other communities in the upper Midwest,” added Howalt+McDowell’s Jeff Scherschligt.
If you ask Mark Griffin why Lewis has managed to survive in an era of big-box stores and online shopping, he’ll tell you it’s because of the people who work and shop at Lewis.
“Mark not only takes advice from his management team, but he also takes advice from the customers and the Lewis employees that are working on the floor,” added Dave Nielson, director of corporate services at Lewis. “It doesn’t matter what position you are in the company, Mark wants to hear from you.”
Meyer also says Mark’s involvement in the national drug store industry is key to keeping Lewis viable and successful.
“Mark is great at networking. He communicates well within the national drug industry and stays very relevant. Not to mention, Mark is also a great negotiator. He’s not afraid to ask for what he wants,” Meyer concluded.
“He has a strong, steady confidence about him,” said his youngest daughter Davi Griffin. “He’s just a positive, optimistic kind of guy and that attitude really serves him well.”