In an era dominated by CVS, Walgreen’s and Rite-Aid, it’s increasingly rare to find a locally-owned Mom-and-Pop-style pharmacy. But this year marks the 100th anniversary of Dinglewood Pharmacy: an independently-owned Columbus establishment where owner Terry Hurley says everybody knows your name. SVM swings by to learn more about Dinglewood, their world-famous scramble dogs and hear how the pharmacy business has transformed over the past century.
What can you tell us about the history of Dinglewood Pharmacy?
In the late 1890s and early 1900s, the Wheat brothers had a pharmacy in the Swift Building on Broad St in Columbus. As the town grew Eastward they decided to expand by putting another pharmacy out the trolley line toward the Wynnton Academy. The roads out here were sttill unpaved and homes were large but few and far between. The new location was placed at what is now the intersection of Wynnton and B. Vista roads and opened for business on Nov 13th, 1918. It was typical setup with soda fount dry goods, health needs and a prescription room. Almost all rxs were compounded in that era as the drug companies had yet to start making drugs to be dispensed. note; the first prescription filled at the new location was for newborn baby girl Richards whose home was near pharmacy. Rx was for "Baby Richards" for paregoric from Dr Mercer Blanchard, Sr. Baby was Marguerite Richards (Tom's Foods) later to become Mrs Wm Feighner.
After 2 years, Eli Wheat the store to r Shackleford, who in turn later sold to Mr Shanks, who sold about 1926 to Mr Alan Hill upon whose death around 1950, the family sold the store to Mr Bill Wall. Mr Wall operated the store and in 1963 moved from its origional location one block up the street to Mr Kings new shopping center (Dinglewood Shopping Center). During the next 10 years the pharmacy outgrew its location and Mr Wall purchased the present location from Gene Woolfolk and build the existing building and moved into it in May of 1973. I purchased the store from Mr Wall in 1975.
Why do you thinks the Pharmacy has been so successful all these years?
I think the business has been successful because, through the different owners, Dinglewood has always considered itself to be a part of the community. We do our best to serve and to serve well, but we do our dead level best to put back as well. Like any other small business (especially in the past) you had to enrich that which enriches you. Our customers have always been considered and I hope treated as friends and neighbors. Their grandchildren are friends with our grandchildren etc.
Could you tell us a little about your career as a pharmacist and when you became a pharmacy owner?
I was born in LaGrange, Ga but raised in my parent's hometown of Wedowee, When I was 12, Mr Everett Mullican asked me if I would like to wash dishes on the fountain of Wedowee Drug Co. I of course jumped at the chance. I stood on Coca Cola crates to reach the sink to keep dishes, pots and pans ready. As I grew taller, I could scoop ice cream, make shakes, sodas, 'naner splits etc. I worked there until I graduated in 1959. When I learned that I might be able to go to college, the only job I had ever know and loved dictated my path at Auburn (Alabama Polytechnic Institute at that time and because Auburn University in January of 1960.) To work my way through school, I worked on the soda fountain at the Union Building and commuted to Columbus to work in the pharmacy for Carl Jacobs, owner olf Jacobs Pharmacy on Wynnton Road. Mr Jake and Clanton Chandler were opening a new store near St Francis so when I graduated, I went to Chandlers at Rosemont in 1964. After Kathy and I married in 1968, I began to do "relief" work for other pharmacies in the area for the extra money and the experience. Later in the mid 70's, I learned of Mr Wall's intent to sell Dinglewood and with the help of Jim Yancey and lots of support from friends and relatives,as they say, here we are. To date, the most fulfilling almost half-century anyone could have asked for.
What would you say is the biggest challenge facing independent pharmacy owners in our nation or in Columbus in particular?
The vast changes in the health care system and the ramification that has had on business as usual had made this a brand new ball game. Patients can no longer decide for themselves how they are treated, who can treat them or where they are to be treated. Big businesses and Corps that used to have the "We" attitude about employees and community are now so driven by the bottom line that they totally disregard everything we have always known. The independent pharmacies are shut out and have their hands tied even though they are still the most logical, accesible, safest and in many cases, the most cost effective answer to many of the problems. Don't get me started. When the drug companies that are our competition own the insurance companies that control my business, what does that say about the present system. But still, we are here and will be for years to come.
What sorts of things are you doing at Dinglewood Pharmacy that are unique and not necessarily available at other pharmacies in Columbus?
We are serving 5th and one 6th generation families here in the pharmacy and on the soda fountain. It is a proud day when a family brings its offspring in for his or her first scrambled dog. Rambling During the depression and wars for meat shortage the franks were split length-wise and a "half-a-dog" and a coke was 6 cents. The "scrambled Dog" was first served by Mr Firm Roberts (sp) out on benning road I believe in the late forties for a short time. When mr Roberts business closed, Sport Brown put his touch on the prep and continued using the name. I am sure there are several versions of this story, but this is the only one I know.
What is the best thing about living in Columbus?
I love living in Columbus for so many reasons. It has become home to me and is home to my children, grandchildren and soon to be great grandchild. We have continue to evolve.