Where can you take a trip down memory lane, grab a bite to eat, get exceptional service and find a modern, customer-centered pharmacy?
Check out Guerin’s Pharmacy on Town Square.
Guerin’s has been in continuous business since 1871, when Herbert Dunning, great-uncle to the current owner, opened the doors. His son, Charles Dunning, later took over, and Charles’s daughter, Barbara Dunning, runs the business today.
All three generations graduated with pharmacists’ degrees from the Medical University of South Carolina. Barbara started working at the store when she was a teenager.
“It was something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said.
Guerin’s is a full-service pharmacy with compounding available; prescriptions are delivered, for a nominal fee, to those unable to drive. If you’re feeling poorly without a prescription, Barbara and pharmacist Josh Kister will gladly recommend over-the-counter remedies.
What sets Guerin’s apart—aside from its historic soda fountain and museum of patent medicines and vintage medical paraphernalia—“is hospitality,” Barbara said.
“When a customer has a problem, we help solve it. When a patient needs money options we do the best we can. When they ask for referrals, we try to give them the referrals we’d want. Grocery store, doctor, anything, we tell them where we’d go.”
The soda fountain, built in 1927, has hosted generations of school children who leave their bikes and backpacks outside while they enjoy hot dogs, ice cream, fresh-squeezed lemonade, Coke floats and more.
“We see the great-grandchildren of original customers. Some of them have a charge account for the soda fountain; their parents get a monthly bill,” she said.
The store also boasts “the best candy counter in town,” with old-fashioned penny candies (which now start at six cents), Charleston chews, candy necklaces, Mary Jane caramels and Squirrel Nut Zippers.
“If we don’t have it we can order it,” Barbara said.
Newcomers are thrilled to find a drugstore that embodies small-town Southern life, and longtime customers are fiercely loyal.
“There’s nothing else like working at Guerin’s,” Barbara said. “It’s a commitment you make to the community… I know a lot of people by their first names. We get to see all these kids grow up.”
Guerin’s also stocks cards, gifts, Yardley bath products, postcards with exclusive images by a local photographer, local souvenirs and a line of sachets and house sprays called Green Leaf that’s made in Spartanburg.
You can also buy “old-fashioned” remedies like Father John’s Cough Medicine, Creomulsion, Fletcher’s Castoria, Sloan’s liniment, and J. R. Watkins products, which were sold door to door in the 20s and 30s. For more info visit guerinspharmacy.com