While strolling downtown in Elkin, many buildings with rich history are often viewed as simple façades. Elk Pharmacy, owned by Larry Irwin, is much more than just another drug store in Elkin.
Elk Pharmacy began as “Turner Drug,” which was owned by Irwin’s father, and sat just down the road where Royall’s restaurant is today.
Irwin was inspired to be a pharmacist by his father and began working for the family business in 1972 after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Irwin speaks highly of being a small business owner because of the ability to make the rules. “Most people going into pharmacy would probably like to have their own business,” explained Irwin.
Irwin believes that supporting downtown is important because it does not thrive quite like it used to. With national pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens a few miles away, it may seem hard for a local pharmacy to succeed. However, Irwin described those chains as “friendly competitors.”
Jordan Mays, a student at Elkin High School, is also a part-time employee at Elk Pharmacy. Mays began working at the pharmacy in March of 2016 and said she “could not ask for a better job” because of how understanding Irwin and the rest of the staff are regarding a teenager’s sometimes hectic schedule.
She has come to appreciate the work of small businesses. Mays describes working for Irwin as enjoyable because he is “helpful and goes out of his way for his employees and customers.”
Although as Irwin explained, “things have changed so much” since his father’s pharmacy opened, businesses like Elk Pharmacy still bring tradition and a sense of family to the community.
Annie Douglas, Taylor McKnight, Rebecca Reece and Brianna Dreyer are English students at Elkin High School.