Baker Drug has been in Downtown Conway since the late ’70s. The owner, James “Jimbo” Hendrickson, grew up in Conway and has lived here his whole life. We reached out to Hendrickson, and he graciously agreed to sharet his experiences as a Conway native and long-time business owner n the town over the years.
“Baker Drug opened in 1978 and used to have much longer hours, open 8:00 am to 9:00 pm Monday through Saturday and Sundays from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. There were no computers, only typewriters.”
In Hendrickson’s opinion, computers and technology have beenamong the biggest changes since Baker Drug opened. “I’m the only one here who’s filled a prescription without a computer,” Hendrickson said. Before computers, every label had to be typed individually.
There was no Walmart or Kroger pharmacy when the store first opened, only independents. “Nobody had a pharmacy other than independents,” Hendrickson mused, “so we all knew each other.” He reflected on how customers used to call at night because there were no overnight pharmacy options, and he would come help them. “He still does that!” said Michelle Boueault, manager of Baker Drug. Independent businesses like Baker Drug are able to build trusting relationships with their customers and are willing to take time (even in the middle of the night) to provide them with the best care possible.
Hendrickson’s favorite thing about Conway is how it still has the “downtown small” feeling from when he first opened. “We’re the only pharmacy in town that doesn’t have an automated phone system,” said Boueault, “When you call, a real person answers the phone.” All of Hendrickson’s children worked at the pharmacy growing up, and have gone into the medical or pharmaceutical field as adults. He knows many of his customers by name, some of them having been with him for 50 years.
Baker Drug’s history is one chapter in the extensive history of Downtown Conway. As one of the oldest businesses in our area, it demonstrates the perseverance and the development of small businesses and the town as a whole. The Merchants of Downtown Conway care about and are here for you. #YourPlaceIsHere #DowntownStrong