This is an old name for what would be called a “pharmacist” today.
I’m not saying it was a pharmacist, because usage of the name stretches back thousands of years, and we wouldn’t call what they did back then “pharmacy.” However, it filled the same basic role.
Apothecaries prepared medicines, old ingredients, and performed some medical procedures.
The etymology of the word, however, is more general:
The term “apothecary” derives from the Ancient Greek ἀποθήκη (apothḗkē, “a repository, storehouse”) via Latin apotheca (“repository, storehouse, warehouse”, cf. bodega), Medieval Latin apothecarius (“storekeeper”), and eventually Old French apotecaire.
Technically, an “apothecary” can just be a store or storekeeper, which is more common today. The word is interesting, and it’s used more as a branding device to inspire nostalgia than anything else.
Why I Looked It Up
I was watching Schitt’s Creek when David opened his store: Rose Apothecary.
David tried to explain it:
It’s a general store, but it’s also a very specific store. It’s also not just a store, it’s like a place where people can come and get coffee or drinks, but it’s not a coffee shop, nor is it a bar. Yeah, it’s an environment. And yes, we will be selling things, but it’s more like a branded immersive experience.
I also remember the Friend’s episode called The One with the Apothecary Table (season 6, episode 11). Rachel buys the table from the Pottery Barn, but when learning Phoebe hates ,ass-produced faux-antiques, invents a backstory for the table.