The history of Little Drug Co. goes all the way back to 1922. In the beginning, it was called Bush-Little Drug Company until Mr. Little bought out Mr. Bush and renamed it Little Drug Co.. Since 1965, Little Drug Co. has been located at the Victoria Theater Building within the Historic Canal Street District of New Smyrna Beach. For the father and son team of David and Justin Sikes, their involvement with Little Drug Co. goes back to 1971 when David began working there as a pharmacist.
"It was right about the middle of 2013 went I approached my dad about buying the business from the previous owners," Justin said. "He had been there since he was 25 years old and knew the business well. I had previous management experience running a restaurant on beach-side in New Smyrna. I wanted my dad to have an actual stake in the game for when he wanted to retire and I wanted to build something."
David said yes and for the past 5 years, the pair has been working to preserve the nostalgic charm of Little Drug Co. while still catering to the demands and expectations of modern day appetites. Little Drug Co. is a pharmacy first and a soda fountain / grill second. Nonetheless, what attracts most people is the soda fountain, along with the authentic decor and the genuine vintage vibe. "Most people are amazed when they walk in and have that wow factor look on their faces," Justin said. "The older people say, 'man I haven't seen one of these in forever'. We get people taking pictures of our soda fountain on a daily basis."
For as much fun as they have bringing smiles to customers faces and taking them on a journey through time with their old-fashioned malts and 50s style bar stools, David and Justin do have a pharmacy to run. With that, comes a set of challenges not uncommon to most entrepreneurs, but also one that wasn't anticipated. "A big eye opener for me was how much money exchanges hands through the business," Justin said. "I'm talking in terms of the back end of the business and how much the insurance carriers squeeze you. No matter the carrier, they all dictate how much they're going to pay us."
Other challenges Justin mentioned were cash flow constraints and personnel issues. "Most people don't realize the stress that goes into making it work financially," he said. Regardless, Justin wouldn't have it any other way. In fact, he encourages people to start their own business if given the opportunity. "There are certainly more headaches and stress if you own your own business, but the satisfaction you get is a lot greater than working for someone else."
In regards to future growth, the Little Drug Co. has a "if it's not broken, don't fix it" type approach. Their core services such as the pharmacy, along with free medication delivery, and the soda fountain and grill will continue to be their bread and butter. Future growth and improvements will be more centered around equipment upgrades, making the building more energy efficient and revamping certain back-end process to give Justin a better grasp of the numbers.