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Prescription for success
Goodson Drug marks 50 years in Cumming
Goodsons Pharmacy 4 es
Yvonne Lee hands customer Eljorie Hudson a prescription Monday at Goodson Drug. “They’re good. I don’t know what we’d do without them,” Hudson said. - photo by Emily Saunders
Since age 12, running a drug store is all Jimmy Goodson has known.

His father, the late James “Jim” Goodson, started the Goodson Drug Co. on July 24, 1959, and Goodson has always been an employee.

“It’s in your blood, it’s a tradition,” he said. “There is one lady that has five generations that have been coming here ... most of our customers are regulars. A lot of them have been coming here for years and years and I know their parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

“It just means we must be doing something right.”

In 50 years, the business has seen many faces, Jimmy Goodson said. And there have been even more stories.

“Too many to go over,” he said. “I could write a book.”

Jimmy Goodson took over his father’s pharmacy in 1972, just two years after moving to its current location on West Maple Street from a smaller facility on the other side of Cumming’s square.

Over the years, friends and family members have joined the store’s staff, including one of Goodson’s two daughters, his wife and Rance Cain, his closest friend.

“We’ve known each other since the seventh grade,” he said.

But it’s his son, Lee, who will one day take over for Goodson, though that wasn’t always the plan.

Lee Goodson earned his undergraduate degree in industrial design at the Georgia Institute of Technology, but later went to the University of Georgia to become a pharmacist.

“I thought I wanted to take a different path and then when I got out of school, I started working in the drug store just a little more and started seeing how important it was to me,” he said. “The more I got into it, the more I liked it.

“Goodson has always been here. It’s all I know. I couldn’t imagine it not being in the world.”

Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said Goodson Drug is part of the city’s heritage.

“I remember when Dr. Jim Goodson, the patriarch of Goodson Drug came here,” Gravitt said. “I was one of the first ones he sought out, because he had some car trouble and I was in the auto repair business and I worked on his car.

“I’ve been a customer of theirs ever since they came here. They’re a good family drug store, one of the best.”

Gravitt noted that it’s rare these days to find a family operating a pharmacy or any kind of store.

“They’re really community oriented and they take care of the people,” he said.

Like his father, Lee Goodson started working in the pharmacy as a young child. Though he took time away for college, the customers know him.

“Some of the people have seen me grow up here,” he said. “I hear it at least once a week. They say, ‘I remember when you were this tall.’ I’ve seen a lot of the people here from my whole life.”

Lee Goodson joked that while he loves working with his family, it used to make for little talk outside the pharmacy.

“Dinner conversations would be pretty quiet because there’s really nothing to talk about that we didn’t experience already,” he said.

“So we’d be sitting around the table just eating in silence because what are you going to talk about at dinner? Your day. But everyone lived that same day.”

With no shortage of pharmacies in the county, Jimmy Goodson said his secret is giving good service at a good price and treating his customers “the way you want to be treated.”

“I’m a people person. I like dealing with people,” he said. “Every once in a while you can help them with something that they can’t get done anywhere else. It makes you feel good.”

Some of those things include compounding medicines and fast service.

To keep up with growth and trends, the store has increased the number of pharmacists, computerized its customer base and prescriptions and offers some delivery services.

Last week, on the store’s 50th anniversary, the Goodson family picked up a cake from the Dairy Queen down the street and had a quiet celebration with their employees.

With lines and constant demand, there will be no big celebration, Lee Goodson said.

“We don’t have the time,” he said. “We’re very lucky. We’re blessed with that.”

E-mail Jennifer Sami at