What a great chat with Kim Richardson! He is charming, sweet and genuine! Not only does he love his community and his work, but let’s just face it… Kim is instrumental to the fabric of the Old Village. We are very fortunate to have him!
Q: How and when did you end up owning the Pitt St. Pharmacy?
A: I’ve been here for 22 years and have the great privilege of owning a true “soda fountain pharmacy” which is so rare today! Growing up, my generation would go sit for an ice cream while our parents picked up their medicine. It was a tradition I loved. It was a different perspective than how the world works today, where things are fast paced, the “drive-through mentality.” When I went to pharmacy school, I knew this traditional format was what I wanted, but there were hardly any left. And rightly so! The business model has only a slim chance for success in today’s world since the “soda fountain” is not a profit center. This has forced the “mom and pops” to sell out to the bigger chains. For me, the only way to achieve my dream was for the good Lord to put me at the right spot at the right time and that is exactly what happened! In 1937, Dr. Wattie Zeigler started this pharmacy and here we are celebrating our 80th year. Dr. Zeigler made his living literally with his mortar and pestle! This process is called “compounding” and unlike most pharmacies, we still use this method today. To “compound medicine” means to make unique medicines that are specific for each patient’s individual needs. Individualized medications are not available commercially. This process sets us apart and is the bread and butter of our business. We are one of very few pharmacies that work this way in the Charleston area.
Q: In your opinion, what makes this special? A: This is “Mayberry!” Families shop here and we have created a real sense of community! Kids hang out after school and order a hand-made grilled cheese sandwich or Coke-Float and are able to charge it to their “account.” Compounding medicine is what sustains our business, but our soda fountain is what makes us special. It gives us notoriety, and we have been featured in newspapers, TV shows and movies!
Q: I know you take pride in community service. Talk to me about your recent mission trips.
A: I feel blessed to be where I am, and with that comes my responsibility to “give back.” I grew up in the days of “service to my community” and I continue that today. We are proud to participate in Medical Mission Trips through the Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian Church. We take huge totes of medications to rural areas of Honduras where they literally have no hospitals, doctor care or even medicine. We go with a team of doctors, nurses, dentists and more to a little community of 200 people and help in any way we can. I feel blessed to have this opportunity! Locally we support Camp Happy Days by providing all the medical supplies they need for their camp and we are a sponsor for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as well as many other local organizations.
Visit Pitt St. Pharmacy at 111 Pitt Street or check them out at PittStreetPharmacy.com