At first located on Front Street, where G Street is now, Grants Pass Pharmacy was established in the 1880s. In June 1933, the pharmacy was reborn in its present-day spot, all thanks to owners Louie and Nan Stidham.
Louie was a visionary, adding whimsy to the pharmacy by bringing in an old fountain, a wooden refrigerator, and mirrors from a closing saloon in Klamath Falls. The double-length bar was split in half – one portion gracing the pharmacy and the other in the Stidham family home.
With Louie and Nan at the helm, the pharmacy became a community pillar for 40 years. They and their pharmacy became woven into the fabric of Grants Pass. They employed local high school students as soda jerks and welcomed tourists and locals alike to the Soda Fountain.
Enter a new chapter in the story when Mike and Bonnie, two youngsters who grew up in Grants Pass town, fall in love and get married. Mike pursued a degree in pharmacy at the Oregon State School of Pharmacy. A dedicated partner, Bonnie worked as a dental assistant to support Mike throughout his studies. Mike graduated in 1966.
Having earned their wings, Mike and Bonnie returned to their hometown in February of 1973, dreaming of making the Grants Pass pharmacy their own. They soon acquired the pharmacy files in June of the same year, taking charge of the business. Mike, a skilled pharmacist, and Bonnie, a master of organization, harmoniously ran the pharmacy. Mike was particularly active on the state and national levels to help independent pharmacies thrive.
It was indeed a family affair, as their three young children, Michele, Timothy, and Melinda, grew as the pharmacy grew. Each child lent a hand as they matured, becoming integrated parts of the business. In an unexpected twist, Mike and Bonnie joined forces with Tom Lucas, owner of Owl Drug, in 1977. They closed Owl Drug’s doors and merged its files with Grants Pass Pharmacy, becoming the repository for the oldest pharmacy histories in the town’s tale.
Fueled by their new partnership, Mike and Tom took down a wall, opening up new possibilities for the pharmacy. The interior doubled in size, and Bonnie’s insightful touch brought forth a deli and DME department. The retail and gift section flourished, becoming the go-to destination for beautiful, handpicked gifts displayed with Bonnie’s artistic flair.
As the years passed, Michele took center stage, interning at the pharmacy during summers while attending Oregon State University for Pharmacy school. The ties that bound the family grew more robust, and in 1993, Michele returned to Grants Pass, now accompanied by her husband, Ken. She became a full-time pharmacist at Grants Pass Pharmacy, creating a partnership with her beloved parents, Mike and Bonnie.
Following her sister’s footsteps, Melinda found her way back to the family business. In 1998, she became the master of gifts and the front-end manager, engaging customers with her superb eye for unique offerings.
The years flew by. In 2016, Michele and Melinda gracefully took over the reins of the pharmacy, stepping into the roles of primary owner and manager.
Finally, after a lifetime of dedication, Mike and Bonnie decided to close their chapter in the pharmacy’s story. In 2019, they bid a fond farewell, selling their portion of the business to Michele’s partner, Jeff Harrell, ensuring that the Grants Pass Pharmacy would continue serving the community for years to come.
The team at Grants Pass Pharmacy is standing by – ready to serve as trusted extensions to your healthcare team. Work with us to get the medical access you need to maintain your healthy lifestyle.
Grants Pass Pharmacy, Gift Shop & Historic Soda Fountain
414 SW 6th St, Grants Pass, OR 97526