-Salem’s Brooks-Byrd Pharmacy shuts its doors after 97 years in business-
Shawn Nowlin firstname.lastname@example.org
For the first time in nearly a century, the building at 2 E Main Street in Salem no longer is in business. On March 29, Brooks-Byrd Pharmacy dispensed its last prescription.
While not news to many customers, for people like Sally Carter, it took some time for the word to spread. “I grew up in Salem but moved away almost two decades ago,” she said. “When I heard the news, I called the store to thank them for all they’ve done for the community.”
Webber’s Pharmacy was created in 1925. Thirty-four years later, Ray Byrd Sr. and Ervin Pollard Brooks purchased the company, eventually changing the name to Brooks-Byrd Pharmacy.
Cameron Brooks, the longtime pharmacist, is the son of Ervin Brooks. He and his wife Ann have lived in the Salem area pretty much their entire lives. While it’s next to impossible to accurately tally the number of hours he’s spent at the pharmacy over the years, Cameron says he never took his relationship with the Salem community for granted.
“The Salem community has supported us over the years through and through. Without that support, there’s no way we would have lasted this long,” Cameron, 68, said.
The last time Steve Clarkson visited the pharmacy he had a gut feeling that they would be closing sometime in 2022. “It was in January. I walked in with my mask and as always, everyone was extremely accommodating,” Clarkson said. “I just had an urge that this would be their last year. While I knew this day was inevitable, it’s still surreal that it is happening.”
Throughout the years, Brooks-Byrd took tremendous pride in customers always being able to get an actual person on the phone, rather than an automated system.
Countless people have gone to Facebook to express their sentiments about the pharmacy closing. Said Betty Booth, “This has been a hard pill to swallow, no pun intended! Seriously, I feel I’m losing a part of my family! They have always gone out of their way to be here for my family. I used to say that it seemed the orangeades and not the meds made my girls feel better when they were sick as youngsters. You deserve a wonderful retirement Cameron, good luck!”
Expressed Lisa Daugherty, “I took my girls, Kayla and Leah, there regularly as children for orange drinks as we called them. I recently went there to get an orange drink for myself. Little did I know that they would be closing the following week. I understand Cameron needs to retire so I get it. But it still makes me very sad to know but they will be gone.”
Photos of the early days of Brooks-Byrd Pharmacy hold a special place in Cameron’s heart. Even in the pharmacy’s last week, original furniture from the beginning of the business was still being used.
“We didn’t just look at our customers as loyal supporters, we considered them family. So many people that I met as young teenagers have grown up to have families of their own. We have been very fortunate. As I head off into retirement, on behalf of our entire team, thank you Salem from the bottom of my heart.”