First in a series of articles about small businesses in Sampson County
Thomas Alton Williford, and his son Joey, have made Newton Grove Drug Company more than a hometown pharmacy. The Willifords strive to serve their customers to the best of their ability.
The Newton Grove Drug Company is the oldest independent pharmacy in Sampson County, having opened its doors in 1952. Thomas Alton Williford has been working with the company for nearly 55 years and now works by the side of his son, Joey.
According to Robin Williford, the three pharmacists and staff of Newton Grove Drug Company are devoted to the community that surrounds them.
“We’ve been here to support the needs of our local area for generations and hope to continue to do so for generations to come,” Robin shared.
Joey said his dad has always taught him to treat customers like family — and he does.
“I had a lady call me one time and she needed batteries,” Joey said. “I took her the batteries and put them in her remote for her. That’s what we are here for. To serve our customers in any way they need to be served.”
When the neighborhood kids have needed assistance on homework, Joey said he has been there many times for that too.
“I try to do anything I can to help,” the second generation pharmacist said.
The full service pharmacy provides everything customers need from prescriptions, over the counter medications, blood pressure monitoring, and expert medication counseling and interaction screening. The pharmacy isn’t the only feature.
According to Robin, the store offers an extensive gift store which is stocked with everything from garden items, children’s gifts and toys, ladies clothing and accessories, collegiate and Hobbton fan items, candles, home decor, greeting cards, balloons, monogramming and more.
“Whatever the occasion, you are sure to find just the right gift without having to venture far. Plus we provide courtesy gift wrap for in-store purchases,” Robin said.
In addition to priding themselves in offering the most current and streamlined pharmaceutical care, the company also loves the nostalgia of being an old-time drugstore with a soda fountain that offers 24 ice cream flavors, milkshakes, lemonades, orangeades and more.
“We have always tried to go above and beyond being just a drugstore,” Joey added.
The greatest challenge today posed to small town pharmacies, Robin shared, is dealing with government and insurance company regulations that attempt to dictate customers’ health and wellness.
“We appreciate all of our customers who choose to shop local,” Robin added. “By doing so you are supporting friends and neighbors who work at Newton Grove Drug and ensuring that the convenience and fun of picking up prescriptions, over-the-counter items, gifts and grabbing a cone of ice cream are right around the circle.
According to Robin, the Williford family are avid supporters of education, offering rotation training to the pharmacy students at Campbell University and the pharmacy school.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.