Chemist Warehouse Founder Jack Gance on how he’s built a retail empire | #381

Chemist Warehouse Founder Jack Gance on how he’s built a retail empire | #381

Chemist Warehouse founder Jack Gance is Australian retailing royalty, with a personal wealth of $319M. Listen in as he reveals how he (and other family members) have built the empire.


“The average pharmacist hates us because we have effected the whole margin structure in pharmacy. If they compete with us 100%, if they match our prices, they’ll go broke. They want 35% margin. If they match our prices, they won’t even cover their rent. So, they pretend, or they just try to provide better service. So we’re not really liked in the industry.”

Jack Gance, Co-Founder, Chemist Warehouse

Jack Gance, Chemist Warehouse

Jack really does stir the pot in this very insightful and honest chat as he takes us behind the scenes of how he and his brother built their pharmacy empire. Hit the PLAY button above to hear the full interview, where Jack Gance also shares:

  • How an advertising contra deal enabled the creation of three iconic Aussie brands in Le Specs, Le Tan & Australis
  • How building these brands funded the early years of the pharmacy empire
  • How to find your strategic advantage
  • How systems enable them to open 40 stores per year, each one taking only 10-days to set-up, with budgeted turnover of $10M each!
  • What he believes the real definition of an entrepreneur is


A little bit more about Jack Gance

Jack qualified as a pharmacist in 1967 and alongside his brother, the pair purchased their first pharmacy around that time. In the 1970s and 80s, the Gance brothers established the iconic Le Specs, Le Tan and Australis brands before selling them in order to build their pharmacy empire which is now worth well in excess of a billion dollars thanks to the iconic My Chemist brand with 60 stores nationally, and Chemist Warehouse with 350 stores. Jack’s personal net worth was reported in 2016’s BRW Top 200 Rich List at $391 million. He is a stalwart of the Australian retail landscape, and is also the founder of the Family Business Association of Australia.

My Chemist Warehouse

Jack Gance Interview Transcription

Tim Reid:

Our next guest Jake Gance who qualified as a pharmacist.

Hello, Jack Welcome!  Good on you. Quick off the mark. Take a seat.

Read more


Here’s what caught my attention from chatting with Chemist Warehouse founder Jack Gance:

    1. The advertising contra deal that he struck with an advertising agency in order to promote Le Specs. Without it, he and his brother couldn’t have built that brand to the iconic brand it became. What mutually beneficial contra deals could you strike?
    2. The importance of systems. We’ve covered this a few times on previous episodes, but it can’t be overlooked. Jack’s opening 40 stores a year, each one taking only 10 days to set up! You can’t do that without impeccable systems.
    3.  The haters gunna hate. Although he only briefly touched on it during the interview, I’m guessing Jack and his team endured quite a lot of criticism as they established Australia’s largest chain of discount chemists. Whilst I’m the first to support small business, and hate seeing the little guy get buried by the big guys, I’m also a big supporter of seeing small business grow big … into the empire they deserve to be ;0



But the marketing gold doesn’t stop there, you’ll also:


Other resources mentioned:


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If some thing in this episode of Australia’s favourite marketing podcast peaked your interest, then let me know. Leave your thoughts below.

May your marketing be the best marketing.

Tim Reid of Small Business Big Marketing

Timbo Reid
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