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Riverside Pharmacy to celebrate 60 years

Locally owned business to hold anniversary ceremony on Monday

POSTED: January 3, 2014 12:40 a.m.

Born on Jan. 6, 1954, when technology was a typewriter and national chains were scarce, Riverside Pharmacy has made it to 60 years, changing with the times but keeping its Gainesville ties strong.

“We’ve continued to provide free delivery service for (customers),” said Scottie Barton, who bought the store with former owner Wayne Gee’s son, Stephen, in 2010.

The pharmacy, which is at 935 Green St. NE, “is just an old-fashioned (business),” he said. “Everybody who comes in, we pretty much know them by name. It’s a great tradition to carry on.”

The business is planning an anniversary celebration at 10 a.m. Monday.

Gov. Nathan Deal and other dignitaries, including Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan, are set to appear as part of a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the store. Also planned are refreshments, including a cake.

“It’s going to be kind of an all-day event, which is what we’re shooting for,” Barton said.

He also is expecting Jo Anne Adams, who co-founded the business with Charlie Johnson, to be at the event. Johnson died in March.

“They kind of took a chance coming off the (Gainesville) square,” Barton said, adding that Adams was the first female pharmacist in Gainesville.

Wayne Gee joined the staff in 1964, becoming one of the store owners. In the early 1980s, he took full ownership.

The store had been beside Green’s Grocery, 971 Riverside Drive, for about 50 years. It has been at its current site, which “gave us more room and parking and a chance to expand a little bit,” since 2004, Barton said.

“To have the kind of competition we have now, we’ve been able to compete with those guys and keep it alive,” he said. “Hall County and the surrounding areas have blessed us with their loyalty.”

And there are challenges in other ways as well, such as “preferred pharmacies” under the drug coverage, part D, in Medicare, a federal health program that pays for some of the medical and hospital expenses of people over 65.

“There’s always going to be obstacles, but you just got to find a way to give them what the other guys aren’t giving them,” Barton said.


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