By DAVID LOPEZ
The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy, located on 205 Business 77, has become a staple in San Benito, with its community acting as a secret ingredient in the pharmacy’s continued success.
The Shoppe, which opened on April 1, 1980, turned 40 years this month, making it the longest-running pharmacy in Cameron County under the same ownership, according to head pharmacist David Garza.
Garza and his wife, Dorothy, have been running the Shoppe as a family-owned business. Their three children grew up helping around the pharmacy, doing simple tasks from cleaning and sweeping to checking in and ringing patients at the cash register.
In fact, David and Dorothy welcomed their first child on the Shoppe’s opening day.
“My due date was March 23, 1980, but that didn’t happen,” Dorothy recalls. “Sure enough, on April 1, which was the originally scheduled day for opening, David went in to open up, and then I had to call him and tell him to come home!”
Sarah Anne was their first child, followed by Anthony two years later. Then in 1987, David and Dorothy welcomed their third-born Thomas, who is now one of the Shoppe’s pharmacists.
“My youngest son Thomas is working with us now. He’s taken the financial management of the Shoppe, and I’m trying to have him do more and more every day. Slowly and hopefully, he’ll fully take over the pharmacy,” said David Garza.
Thomas has worked for the Shoppe since he graduated from pharmacy school.
“I have a doctorate in pharmacy and have been practicing for eight years,” Thomas said. “I chose the profession because I really enjoyed working here growing up: the interaction with the patients, the help we could offer them…I feel that as pharmacists, we are the most accessible health care providers: in a pinch, pharmacists are always available,” he said.
Throughout his career with the pharmacy, Garza has managed to partake in community decisions by joining boards and committees. He was a member of the San Benito Consolidated Independent School District board of trustees for 12 years; he sat on the Appraisal District Board for 15 years; and today, he serves as a Cameron County Commissioner for Precinct 3, a position he has held for 20 years. David and Dorothy have also been consistently involved with Our Lady Queen of the Universe and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
“I have always believed that if the community was going to support my business, I felt very strongly that I had to give back,” Garza said. “You give back on your time, talents, or efforts,” he said.
Currently, as the C-19 worldwide pandemic unfolds, the Shoppe is staying open, offering delivery, curbside, or drive-thru services Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. David Garza asks that people shelter in place and follow the directives, saying that we’re in the middle of a health crisis and it is for their own protection.
Lastly, Garza looks back at the past 40 years with fondness, aiming to stay open for another 40 years.
“We’ve gone through the times when independent pharmacies were closing all around us, and it seemed like the big chains and stores were gonna come and take it away, but we were able to survive those big chain stores,” Garza said. “I think personal service is what differentiates us from the big box stores. If I had an opportunity to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or make sure to grab a copy of the April 17–23, 2020 issue of the NEWS.