Dec. 19 is last day for Hospital Pharmacy
By Robert Jordan
Dunn Daily Record
DUNN – After 69 years, Hospital Pharmacy, a Dunn institution at 200 N. Ellis Ave., will close its doors for the last time on Monday, Dec. 19, as it says goodbye to its patients and customers.
Hospital Pharmacy has reached the end of its life in Dunn. The children and grandchildren of former owners, Nell Smith and her husband, the late Pannie Smith, have reached the point where a tough financial decision had to be made.
“It has become very difficult for independent stores to survive in the pharmaceutical industry,” said Andrew Pope, a third generation family member. “As tough as this decision has been for our family to make, it is time.”
Rupert Cox opened Hospital Pharmacy in 1953 on North Ellis Avenue, right across the street from where Betsy Johnson Hospital was formerly located. It has stood in the same location for all these years.
The 200 block of North Ellis Avenue was once Dunn’s own medical plaza. Drs. Charles Byrd, Randolph Doffermyre and William Lilly practiced family medicine in The Dunn Clinic, just a few doors down from the drugstore, and Dr. Glenn Hooper practiced dentistry on the opposite end of the complex from Hospital Pharmacy.
On Jan. 1, 1973, Rupert Cox along with Caul Jernigan and Pannie Smith formed a new corporation to operate as Hospital Pharmacy Inc. Over the years, Pannie and Nell Smith became the proprietors and their family has owned and operated the store ever since.
When the Smiths retired from the business, the keys were passed on to their daughters, Denise Pope and Deborah McStoots. Most recently, the children of the sisters, Andrew Pope and Leigh Ann McStoots, have overseen day-to-day operations.
Sadly, the family tradition comes to an end on Monday.
“If our patients and customers have concerns or questions about this action, we encourage them to call or come by so we can explain what is happening,” said Pope.
The sign on the front door reads, “Due to unfortunate circumstances, we will be closing permanently on Monday, December 19th.
“We thank each of you for your loyalty and support over the past 50 years.
“It’s been a pleasure to serve this community for decades. God bless you all!”
Paige Houston and Kathy Blackmon, owners of Thomas Drug Store, another family drug store in Dunn, released a statement on Thursday. “We were so disappointed to hear of the sale and closing of Hospital Pharmacy. As another family-owned pharmacy in Dunn that has been in operation since the early 1950s, we appreciate the legacy that Hospital Pharmacy leaves behind. That legacy will live on through their loyal patients who have supported locally-owned and operated business for decades. We hope that the people of Dunn and surrounding communities will continue to support local business, both in pharmacy and otherwise, to continue allowing our community to thrive.”