Who We Are…
We are a family owned and operated business that is the legacy of the store that was located in downtown Mt. Prospect at the corner of Emerson and Northwest Highway for more than 50 years.
Longtime Mt. Prospect residents can remember how Van Driel’s evolved from old fashioned drugstore in the 1940s thru 1960s (complete with candy counter, greeting cards and soda fountain) to full service medical supply store in the 1970s.
Herb Van Driel was the original owner of Van Driel’s. His wife served up the pies and the soda fountain back in the 40s and 50s. In 1956 Herb hired Max Ullrich – fresh out of the army and newly wed to his lovely German bride Irmi- as a pharmacist in his rapidly growing business. In 1968 when Herb retired, Max bought the store but quickly realized that with Walgreens and other chains popping up on every corner- the clock was ticking on independent pharmacies.
In 1970 Max made the hard decision to convert Van Driel’s into a medical supply store. After many years and a lot of hard work Van Driel’s Medical Surgical became well known as THE place to find any medical supply you needed.
By the 1980s Max and Irmi’s kids were mostly grown up and on their own. Irmi felt she could devote some time to helping Max at the store and found her niche in the compression stocking end of the business. Having worn the hose herself- she was able to understand and empathize with people who were having to learn to use them for the first time. Irmi’s natural grace and kindness in addition to her excellent teaching skills won her a following of loyal clients, many of whom remain with her today.
In the early 1990s Max and Irmi’s oldest daughter, Claudia, joined them in their business. (Actually she re-joined them if you count the cheap teenage labor years when she vacuumed the store and re-stocked vials and paper bags)
Claudia became Irmi’s partner in the compression stocking business and then branched out- developing her own area of expertise in compression armsleeves, custom made stockings and garments especially made for night wear.
In 2006, after 50 years with the “same job, same wife, same house”, Max decided it was time to retire. Irmi and Claudia decided their best option was to continue their niche business as an independent shop and create a new and unique business that focused on comfortable support wear and skin care.
The specialty shop opened in its current home, 6 blocks east of the old store, in October 2006. The new space is bright, contemporary, cozy and comfortable with private fitting rooms and plenty of parking.
Old clients love the new store- the only complaint is that it’s a little hard to spot as you are flying down Northwest Highway (look for the used book store, we are right next door!)
In February of 2007 Max and Irmi received their Shining Star award from Mayor Irvana Wilks at Mt. Prospect’s annual village banquet. It was a fitting tribute to a couple who had done so much for so many for so many years.
Today Irmi and Claudia can be found at Van Driel Medical Specialties Tuesdays through Fridays.
Max lives on in legend and many many fond memories. His photo with his screen idol, Sophia Loren, is still proudly displayed and is the subject of a many great conversations : )
Stop in and say hello! We’re proud to show off our amazing inventory and would love to take them time to answer your questions and show you how compression and support wear can make a dramatic difference in your comfort and your health.
Sat & Evenings
by appointment only
Sun-Mon - Closed
Appointments Recommended for Compression Stockings and Armsleeves
Walk-ins Accommodated Whenever Possible