Grimsley Pharmacy celebrates 100th anniversary in business
Published 9:02 am Wednesday, December 14, 2022
For one hundred years, Grimsley Pharmacy has been serving the community of Bainbridge, and its present owner and pharmacist, Randy Logue, hopes that will long remain the case.
Logue purchased the business from the Grimsley family in 2017 when the youngest Grimsley pharmacist reached his early 70s and decided it was time to retire. Until then, it had been one of the oldest family-owned pharmacies in Georgia, owned and operated by three generations of the family.
While not a relative of the Grimsley family, Logue was looking for opportunities to build his own family business. When the opportunity came about for him to buy the Pharmacy, it was the idea of caring for others beyond the prescription that made Logue want to take on the responsibility of carrying on the Grimsley family legacy.
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“We just want to take care of people. That’s what it’s about,” Logue said. “Yes, you’ve got to make some money to keep your doors open and we want to be successful, but you know, success is not always measured in relation to financial gain. I measure success by asking myself what impact I had on the people I served today. How did I help someone get through a rough situation? How do we help our customers in the good times too?” he continued. “I ask myself if what we do for people is making their lives better and that continues to be my goal just as it was the previous three pharmacists’.”
The business has changed significantly since the Pharmacy opened its doors in 1922. It was the first business of its kind in town to have air conditioning in 1950. The Pharmacy was known in town for its soda fountain and triple-decker sandwiches made by Mrs. Grimsley Sr., and back then, prescriptions were delivered by delivery boys on bicycles.
For many years the Pharmacy compounded the drugs in-house, which Logue says is not the case nowadays. “They took the raw chemicals and actually made the product whereas now we have a product that shipped to us. In simple terms we take it out of one bottle and put it in a smaller bottle,” Logue said, “There are still pharmacies that compound. We don’t do it here, but some do.”
Once located on Water Street next to The Bon Air Hotel, the family moved the company to its present-day location on Evans Street in 1973. According to Logue, the interior decor had remained relatively the same since the move, so when he took possession of the business Logue and his wife decided to make a few updates which was a more challenging decision than you might assume. “When we bought the place Johnny had no computer back here to do office work on. His brother is an accountant in Tallahassee, so all his accountant work was just kept by hand and sent to his brother to be entered into the computer. Adding computers back here really began to update how we operated,” Logue explained.
“They had these big shelving units that you can see in some of the photographs, and one day we were taking them apart and Johnny was looking concerned and said, “who’s gonna remember how to put those back together?” I was like, well, we’re not going to put them back together. We’re updating and his response was kind of like what do you mean, you’re throwing away this stuff? It was difficult of course.”
But while change was difficult for everyone, Logue felt like it was exciting in other ways also. “I think ultimately he embraced the changes, he really was excited when he started to see the business growing again, you know,” Logue said; who knows if he might be faced with the tough decision of selling the business if his kids don’t become pharmacists.
“I think the important thing is keeping these independent drug stores independent,” he said, “Like it was for the Grimsleys, there was nobody at the end of the day that was a pharmacist in the family so they had to make a choice.”
But Logue hopes that no matter what the next hundred years hold for the business, there will always be another local person who will want to step in as he did and keep the legacy of local service with a focus on relationships alive. “I hope that no matter who it is, that when I am no longer able to serve the community that someone else will have an interest here in taking care of people and will step in behind me to do it.”