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Goliad Pharmacy celebrates 140 years

By KBell
Nov. 24, 2010 at 5:24 a.m.
Updated Nov. 29, 2010 at 5:29 a.m.

The Square on downtown Goliad is a convenient meeting spot for Goliad residents. Mayor Jay Harey, right, visits with former justice of the peace Emilio Vargas in front of the Goliad Pharmacy.

IF YOU GOWHAT: Goliad Pharmacy and Gift's 140th Anniversary and Health Fair

WHERE: The pharmacy, 236 S. Commercial St. and around the downtown square

WHEN: Dec. 4, 9 a.m. to noon

HIGHLIGHTS: Iron Andy, speaking about his struggles and triumphs with diabetes; diabetic and blood pressure testing; Medicare comparisons and enrollment (by appointment); special sales, giveaways, refreshments

COST: Free

FOR MORE INFO: Contact the pharmacy at 361-645-3261

NOTES: Kristy Von Dohlen said any of the pharmacy's many former employees are welcome to come to a ceremony at 11 a.m. to be recognized.

GOLIAD - On a fall afternoon, Christmas window displays invited downtown patrons to venture into the Goliad Pharmacy, just as they did more than a century ago.

On Dec. 4, at Christmas in Goliad, the pharmacy will celebrate its anniversary, having been a staple on the downtown square for 140 years.

"We're the only drug store in the county," said the pharmacy's manager, Kristy von Dohlen, who worked at the pharmacy when she was 16. "Our slogan is, 'We're not just your every day pharmacy.' We're blending old-fashioned service with modern-day technology."

It's that old-fashioned attitude that keeps customers coming back, von Dohlen said.

"We have a lot of regular customers and clientele, and they appreciate the one-on-one," she said.

Debbie Ybabro knows what it's like to be a regular.

Her mother, Lilly Ybabro worked in the pharmacy for 47 years, and Debbie went from being a regular guest at the store to helping with the elaborate window displays to, now, a full-time employee.

"Oh my God, we lived out here," Ybabro said. "It was awesome growing up here. The drug store's been part of my family."

Ybabro talked about coming to the pharmacy with other junior high kids 40 years ago to get drinks from the soda fountain, eat chili dogs and enjoy "the best ice cream, Coke floats and cherry limeades."

She also remembered "the same old group" of people from the courthouse across the street coming in to gossip over coffee every morning and afternoon.

"It has changed so much," Ybabro said, adding that the pharmacy was also the go-to place for Christmas toys when she was younger.

Before Ybabro and von Dohlen's time, the pharmacy stood on the other side of the square, erected in 1870, before it burned down in 1915. Then called C.H. Baker Drug Store, the pharmacy moved to its present location before L.H. von Dohlen purchased it in 1925.

Despite the changes over the years, the pharmacy's hometown charm remains, staying true to its mission of combining the old-fashioned and modern medicine.

Among Beanie Babies, modern jewelry, picture frames and other gifts stands a red and wood-paneled old Coca Cola machine.

Its dispensing mechanism no longer works, but people use the old-fashioned honor system to pay for their drinks, von Dohlen said.

"Coldest and cheapest canned Cokes in town - 50 cents."

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