Kris Thorkelson

Everyday is different. Everyday is a challenge, with many new things. And that’s what I enjoy most about our business. I just work hard everyday.


Kris Thorkelson is an accomplished entrepreneur with over 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry. In addition to owning a chain of four pharmacies in Winnipeg, called the Prescription Shop, he also owns a pair of medical clinics attached to two of the pharmacies. Kris founded Canada Drugs, a canadian online pharmacy in 2001, which acquired brand name and generic drugs from around the world and sold them online at competitive prices. Canada Drugs helped millions of patients around the world gain access to their medication at competitive prices. Most recently, Kris has ventured into other areas of the business world, including real estate. He is the owner of My Place Realty (MPR), a property management company specializing in finding suitable homes for Winnipeg-based clients.

Where did the idea for going into the pharmaceutical retail industry originally come from?

Basically, one of my pharmacy contacts came up with the idea in about 1999 and he called me and asked me for some assistance in his business and allowed me to look at his business and that’s where the idea for Canada Drugs came from.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Everyday is different. Everyday is a challenge, with many new things. And that’s what I enjoy most about our business. I just work hard everyday.

How do you bring ideas to life?

With much respect to business, I’m just constantly thinking about it, striving to improve and that’s how I’ve been able to improve the business side of my life.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The move to online shopping. I think it’s going to continue to change all of our lives and even much more than it already has.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Just the focus on improvement. Everyday, I’m always focusing on trying to change something to improve some aspect of the business.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be bolder and braver. Don’t be afraid of rejection in your personal or professional way.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

That you have to take care of your team before you take care of yourself. Ensuring that your employees are happy and able to thrive is essential to running a successful business. Taking care of your team will enable your employees to be more productive and efficient and in turn, grow your business in the long run.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Make mistakes by acting. Take action and learn from the action and make mistakes.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

The focus on quality and service really. And a daily focus on small improvements. Focus on improvement throughout the whole business over time, and that’s really separated me from my competitors.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

My early business partnership. There were four partners originally and I was really ready to quit business completely and ready to just work for somebody else. But an excellent lawyer actually really helped me and he was able to turn me around and guide me through that very difficult time.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Online shopping has come a long way in the past few years, but I think a better system to integrate grocery delivery with the delivery of household items and then track the delivery in real time, like Uber, would be a great invention. No more waiting around all day for an expected delivery or drivers failing to ring an apartment buzzer.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Professionally, I would say investing in a quality, memorable business name.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

One of my pieces of success was domain names for the web and really being able to control that space. Before Google search was as strong, domain names were much more important. They are still are very important, but being able to search domain names, find quality domain names, register the appropriate ones. So I used the domain tools quite significantly.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Millionaire Mind” by Thomas J. Stanley. I read that book about 17 or 18 years ago. And that really changed my thinking about business and life. And it really helped to lead me to where I am today.

What is your favorite quote?

Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.” – Chris Grosser

Key Learnings:

– Hard work, and not being afraid of failure, is the best path to success
– Always keep striving for growth, whether that is by adopting a new technology or taking a big risk
– Do something everyday that challenges you