The Salida Pharmacy and Fountain represents a return to quality and tradition. It officially opened its doors to the public with a Grand Opening in November 2019. The building location was previously occupied by a store called ‘The Fringe,’ but is best known in Salida as the former home of Cady’s Hardware Store.
Owners Lucas and Jill Smith, who grew up in Colorado Springs graduated from Western Colorado University in Gunnison, CO in 2010. After finishing their undergraduate degrees, the couple moved to Denver, CO where Lucas was able to finish his pharmacology schooling.
The Smiths moved to Chaffee County in 2014, taking over ownership of the Buena Vista Drug Store in Buena Vista. The family resides in Buena Vista with their two little girls and enjoy backpacking, hiking and mountain climbing together as a family.
“I was really interested in independent pharmacy when I was in Pharmacy school and I got involved with independent pharmacy owners along with the school and a buying group of them based out of Denver. They formed an investment group to buy Buena Vista Drug in 2013, with the whole goal of transitioning ownership over 6 years,” said L. Smith.
He continued, “They hired me right after I graduated from pharmacy school in 2014 with the plan for me to buy it out over six years, but then I started working and we bought Buena Vista Drug at the end of 2017.”
The Smiths have owned Buena Vista Drug for two and a half years, but have been involved with the business for six years. Although the Smiths own both the Buena Vista Drug and the Salida Pharmacy and Fountain, both operate as separate businesses.
In 2018 the opportunity presented itself to begin the development of the Salida Pharmacy and Fountain. The project began for the Smiths in Oct. of 2018, taking a little over a year to finish and open.
L. Smith shared some history of the concept of the business, “I always wanted to expand the business and I really like ice cream. We decided that since we are in a historical building, we would do a soda fountain piece since pharmacies used to always have soda fountains in them to help mask the flavors of the drugs they were dispensing.”
J. Smith added, “That’s how Dr. Pepper, Root Beer and Coca-Cola came around.”
The Salida Pharmacy and Fountain carries Blue Mountain Creamery ice cream, which is made in Colorado Springs. They offer nine core flavors and three rotating flavors. The Smiths also make their own syrups for the sodas, excluding cola, root beer and chocolate in addition to making the caramel, whip cream and hot fudge. Cookies for ice cream sandwiches and the brownies come from Simple Eatery in Buena Vista.
The Smiths added that they will be looking to hiring local high school students to work in the Soda Fountain. “We really want it to be a place where a first-time job is fun, where they can learn the ins and outs of the service industry,” said J. Smith. “We know first-time jobs can be scary and intimidating and we want to support the high school students through learning, rather than them having that intimidating experience.”
The design inside is reminiscent of the old time soda fountains, but adds some modern character. “The general concept was there, but the look of it evolved while we were constructing. We were fortunate to find the back bar from a pharmacy in Del Norte that was built in 1927 and we moved it to Salida. The soda rail was built in the 40’s or 50’s and it was also at that pharmacy,” said L. Smith.
L. Smith shared the goals of the pharmacy and what he hopes he can contribute to the community of Salida.
“We wanted to bring independent pharmacy back to Salida because there isn’t one. We knew we needed to take care of people and be their friendly pharmacist who knows them well, who can help them with their medications and answer questions.”
Services provided by the Salida Pharmacy and Fountain include: vaccines, delivery, vitamins and supplement counseling, etc. The Salida Pharmacy and Fountain is looking into creating some events and gatherings to boost community engagement. The Smiths talked of education gatherings, book readings, participating in the Salida Walking Tours and an eventual movie night.
In addition, Salida Pharmacy and Fountain accepts most insurance carriers and can price match to other pharmacies locally. The couple has also allotted their two parking spaces behind the store for customer use when picking up prescriptions; perhaps allowing them time to have a milkshake while there too.
Mark Corrales is the second pharmacist at the Salida Pharmacy and Fountain. He also has expertise in vitamin and supplement counseling and advising. L. Smith said that the Salida Pharmacy and Fountain carries a professional line of vitamins and supplements that can only be administered from a pharmacist or doctor who is registered with the company, due to their high quality and reliability.
The Salida Pharmacy and Fountain has a consult room too, so pharmacists can meet their customers privately, to discuss information regarding their health and medications.
“We are able to sit down with people that either have medications that deplete certain nutrients, we can recommend those vitamins and nutrients that might help them or just overall health and supplements that might help them,” said L. Smith.
The Salida Pharmacy and Fountain has a website and a social media presence. To find their pages, follow these links: Website, Facebook, and Instagram.
Cover Photo: Salida Pharmacy and Fountain Interior (Photo Courtesy of Salida Pharmacy and Fountain)