Medical Arts Pharmacy celebrates 40 years
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Copperas Cove’s own locally owned pharmacy, Medical Arts Pharmacy, is celebrating 40 years today.
The Medical Arts Pharmacy has been owned and operated by pharmacist Dr. Jim Shave since June 1, 1981, when he took over the pharmacy from its previous owner.
When Shave took over the pharmacy, it was located across from its current spot in the Ledger Medical Plaza, which also featured several other medical offices. Shave described the original location as a hole in the wall and said he figured it would be good for two or three years, but that turned into 40 years.
In 2005, the Medical Arts Pharmacy moved across the parking lot to its current location, in Suite A of the Ledger Medical Plaza at 806 E. Avenue D.
“There were doctors over there when I bought it, and they’ve all come and gone, and I thought when these doctors move out, I’m dead in the water,” Shave said. “They moved out, and people just kept coming to me. We just treated these people like they were our friends. They really weren’t customers.”
Over the course of the 40 years that the pharmacy has been operated by Shave and his staff, the customers have remained loyal.
“Some of them are still with us,” Shave said. “Some of them have moved, some of them have died, but you just treat people like folks, and I guess that’s how we’ve been fortunate enough to be here that long.”
Shave was born and raised in Midland, but his parents were from Lometa and Star, Texas, and in the summer, he would come to Copperas Cove to stay with his grandmother.
“I just loved it out here in the Hill Country because there’s trees and water, and out in Midland, it’s just dirt. West Texas is just dirt, and I always wanted to come back to Central Texas, and it just fell in my lap.”
Shave said he was always interested in biology and chemistry in high school and wanted to go into the medical field, so he went to pharmacy school.
His wife, Rita Shave, works with him at the pharmacy as a Pharmacy Technician. She shared the story of how her husband acquired the financing for the purchase of the pharmacy.
After deciding he wanted to buy the pharmacy from its previous owners who were looking to sell, Shave called the bank to inquire about financing options. The president of the bank answered and agreed to meet Shave on a Sunday.
“Now that’s unheard of for a banker to come down and open up the bank for somebody they don’t know on a Sunday,” Shave said. “I brought all of my credit stuff and dressed up and he was just very laid back. He said, ‘yeah, we’ll loan you the money,’ and I thought well this must be divine intervention.”
Rita said that the whole process took two months from when her husband came to Copperas Cove to look at the location and when he accepted the keys to the building.
“Things just happened,” Shave said.
“We made a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, didn’t we?” Rita said. “That store was doing nothing spectacular, and I think people thought, well, you had to be a patient here in the clinic somewhere, you had to be a patient around here to use them.”
Medical Arts Pharmacy serves all customers and offers prescriptions as well as over the counter medicine.
When Shave first opened the doors, he said that things were very different compared to how it is now.
“We had no computers, no managed care,” Shave said. “Everything was done on a typewriter. One man could operate the whole store. Now, you can’t fill a prescription without a computer and a pharmacy tech, so pharmacy has come a long way in 40 years.”
In the 40 years of owning the pharmacy, Shave said that bigger corporations, like Walgreens and CVS, have called looking to buy him out, but he has always refused.
Now, Medical Arts Pharmacy is the only locally owned pharmacy in Copperas Cove, and one of the few locally owned pharmacies left in the Central Texas region.
Shave said that the relationship with customers is what keeps the pharmacy going.
“I guess it’s the fact that we talk to people. We’ll go out and talk to them,” Shave said. “We develop a rapport with them. They have a name, and we know it.”
Shave said that if a customer has a problem, his staff works to communicate with the patient and try and resolve it.
“I feel very fortunate and very blessed that people still trust me and still think enough of me to come trade with me,” Shave said. “I’m just very humbled to be here. I like my job- no, I love my job. I love working with the people I work with. I love the customers. I look forward to coming to work in the morning.”
Medical Arts Pharmacy has a staff of six that make everything run smoothly: pharmacists Jim Shave and Linda Corporon, pharmacy technicians Rita Shave, Rita Phipps and pharmacy technician in training Morgan Benoist as well as clerk Joan Kelley.