There was a time when the local pharmacy was more than just a place to pick up prescriptions. It was a community gathering place. There was a soda fountain. People to visit. The news of the day to listen to while getting some medicine.
It was also a time when the Brown family started the Brown Pharmacy on Detroit Street in LaGrange in 1896. That began three generations of the family serving as pharmacists for the community, a service that went beyond dispensing medicine.
“I spent a lot of time there,” Fred Brown recalled of the first store as he began his retirement after being a pharmacist for 50 years. “This is the first time since I was 12 that I’m not carrying keys to a pharmacy.”
The store was started by his grandfather, Fred. J. Brown, and then ran by his father, Jay S. Brown. Fred Brown graduated from Purdue University in January 1963 and received his license that summer. “I was expected to be a pharmacist,” Brown said. “I can’t complain. It’s treated me well.”
But it has changed, and continues to change, between regulations, insurance, competition, and the community as a whole. “It’s getting totally different,” Brown said. That gathering place no longer exists the way it once did. The Browns’ own pharmacy closed in 1995.
Along the way, Brown has also treated the community well. “To be a community pharmacist is to be involved in the community,” he noted. “I’ve been in every organization there is.”
For Brown, a highlight in serving the community was being elected to the LaGrange County Council, a seat he held for two terms. “I highly recommend getting involved in local government. If more did that, we’d all be better off,” he stated.
He was also proud to be on the board of directors for Farmers State Bank, replacing his father on that board, as well as serving as the board’s chairman.
Brown plans to spend his time visiting family and relaxing after 50 years of standing behind the counter, helping the community both as a pharmacist and as a resident who cares