Western Drug and General Store is a lot of things to a lot of people. It has a little something for everyone, and that’s why families have been stopping by for 80 years. Manager Rick Nathan talks about the store.
So, Western Drug has a long history?
The store is a descendant of the Becker brothers’ trading post from the 1870s. Western Drug was started in 1934 by a pharmacist named Ellis Chitwood. In the late 1950s, descendants of Gus Becker — one of the earliest settlers in Round Valley — bought Western Drug. Inside the store, we have a full-size cabin that’s a replica of the Becker brothers’ trading post.
What else will customers find?
We have a saying here: “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.” Besides our pharmacy and gun department — both of which are award-winning — we have camping supplies, a huge fishing department, an excellent fabric department, a crafts department and an over-the-counter department. And we sell T-shirts, greeting cards, liquor, candy, ice ... all kinds of supplies.
So, you’re sticking to your roots?
We’re the descendants of a frontier trading post, and frontier trading posts had to carry everything. They were often the only source of dry goods for miles around. It’s tradition.
How do you explain your longevity?
We go out of our way to treat our customers like family. We like to instill in them a good, warm, positive feeling. We know our customers on a first-name basis. There’s something for the whole family here. There’s a popcorn machine, and I constantly have a hot pot of coffee on. That’s how we like to treat our customers: like they’re in a place where they can feel at home.
Western Drug and General Store is located at 106 E. Main Street in Springerville. For more information, call 928-333-4321 or visit www.westerndrugstore.com.
— Kirsten Kraklio
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