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Pawleys Island Pharmacy: Expansion gives Litchfield its first pharmacy since 1990s

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Chief pharmacist Kelley Johnson recognized her very first customer at Pawleys Island Pharmacy’s new location in Litchfield Market Village. Mildred Schofield, a resident of the Lakes at Litchfield, had been assistant principal when Johnson attended Maryville Elementary School.

That connection to the community has been owner Glenn Cox’s stock in trade since he opened his first drug store in Pawleys Island in 1974, according to long-time customer Earl Walker, who was at this week’s ribbon-cutting ceremony in Litchfield. Walker went to work for Georgetown Steel in May 1974. “I’ve been a customer since he opened,” Walker said. He plans to use both the Litchfield and Pawleys Island locations.

Cox said he’d been thinking about a Litchfield store for years but never found the right fit. The need was there. There hasn’t been a drug store in Litchfield Beach since Eckerds closed and moved to Pawleys Island before merging with CVS. Cox said Litchfield Books owner Tom Warner tried to get him to open in Litchfield Landing, but the units were too long and narrow for a pharmacy.

When Bi-Lo dropped plans for an in-store pharmacy in the former Piggly Wiggly, Cox felt the time was right. He talked with Realtor Jim Bindner about a space. The former bank building at Litchfield Market Village with its drive-in window provides plenty of space for retail shelving, the pharmacy and its counter as well as rooms for a beach shop, a diabetes shop and a consulting room with a table and chairs. Cox said the other end of the shopping center has more traffic coming and going. “Maybe we’ll train them to come this way,” he said.

Cox will work at the Litchfield pharmacy on Wednesdays. Johnson will be on duty for the store’s other hours: Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

She got a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1997 from Francis Marion University and a pharmacy degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. She’s worked for chain drug stores for 15 years, most recently at Rite Aid in Georgetown. She and Cox’s daughter were in school together, and she contacted him about a job when she moved back home to Georgetown a few years ago. “I was really anxious to get back to an independent store where you can be a pharmacist and not go through the motions for a big corporation,” Johnson said. She lives in Georgetown and enjoys her commute to Litchfield. “You come across the water every morning and remember why you live here,” she said. “I am grateful that I can look at this every single morning.”

Having a full-service pharmacy will bring more traffic to the shopping center, according to John Nucero at Litchfield Wine and Liquor. He said the closing of Piggly Wiggly hurt all the stores in the complex. “We’ve been doing real well,” he said.

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