On December 20, 2021, the iconic Little Drug Company at 412 Canal Street in New Smyrna Beach shared with the community, “We regret to inform our community and family that we have served for just a few months short of 100 years, that we will be permanently closing our doors on Tuesday, December 28, 2021.” The announcement was made through their official Facebook page. The post continued by inviting the community to have one more seat at the counter, share past experiences and say goodbye. The social media post did more than spread the word about their closing, it created a wave of support that even the owners were shocked, and delighted, to see.
Locals in the community shared comments like, “sad day in NSB history”, “heartbreaking”, “a wonderful memory”, “thank you for shaping our community.” The comment section is flooded with peoples’ memories of working there, enjoying family lunches, a candy selection that brings back their childhood and the best milkshakes. The business is family-owned by locals, David Sikes, pharmacist, and his son, co-owner, Justin Sikes.
“I was completely shocked we were not given more time to close up,” said Justin. “Honestly, we’ve had problems for years and tried to keep the business going for our loyal customers and employees.”
Since locating to the old Victoria Theater building in 1965, Little Drug Company has serviced locals and tourists alike. Inside, customers could find an “old-fashioned” soda fountain and restaurant, pharmacy services, medical supplies for physicians, clinics and hospitals and a convenient store. While the facade of the building has not changed since it was built, it was thoroughly restored in 1991. The store also has the distinction of being the oldest ongoing independent pharmacy in Volusia County.
“I literally grew up here,” recalls Justin. “I’ll always remember our amazing customers like Shawn Bergeron’s one-liner jokes, Rob Dunning sitting at the counter writing poems for his next book and Choppy Matthews grabbing a cup of joe before work.”
According to another Facebook post, Little Drug Company shared a link to a crowdfunding campaign started on GoFundMe.com. It says, “One of their devoted patrons has even started a Go Fund Me account to help cover ‘closing up costs.’ This fund will not cover any cost to save the company.” At time of print, the fund states $2,000 raised of the $75,000 goal.
Justin explains, “Since the beginning of 2021, we have been reorganizing our business debt. Unfortunately, this is the best move for our business now. It was part of an agreement and this is the way it has to be.”
Justin continued, “Prescription drugs are a high cost and low to nothing reimbursement from the insurance companies. The average person pays their $5 copay, but does not realize that their drugs actually cost us $1,000. We don’t see a full return of that cost and it can take weeks to receive from the insurance company. Up to a year later, we are charged a Direct and Indirect Runermation (DIR) fee that essentially takes that profit back. A form of corporate robbery in my opinion. It has been a real struggle with this issue for years.”
The future of Little Drug Company is it’s legacy as a community icon. If you are a prescription patient, do not worry. Everything will be transferred over to The Medicine Shoppe in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, located inside the Pappas plaza.