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Raleigh pharmacist gives back to the community

Posted February 12, 2010
Updated February 13, 2010

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— Since 1907, the family-owned Hamlin Drug Company has been a fixture on East Hargett Street in Raleigh.

It is the oldest pharmacy in the city and the oldest black-owned pharmacy in the state.

For more than half of its history, John Mitchell Johnson has operated the store.

“It’s a matter of helping, helping others in ways large and small,” Johnson said about his work.

John Mitchell Johnson Local pharmacist gives back to community

Johnson prides himself on service to the community and traditional hospitality. He believes those things have kept the business going, even during the turbulent years of racial discrimination and political unrest.

Now, Johnson is modernizing the pharmacy to keep up with the recent resurgence in downtown Raleigh. The pharmacy has added a robotic dispensing system and will soon start renovations on store.

“At one time, there were four chains just a block and half from us. We like to think we put them all out of business except one,” Johnson said. “We’re still standing.”

WRAL-TV celebrates Black History Month with Living the Legacy. This month-long campaign spotlights the accomplishments of local individuals who are living the legacy of their ancestry and great African-American leaders.


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  • districtcadvocate Feb 12, 2010

    It is with great pride that I wish Hamlin Drug Store a bright future in downtown Raleigh. The ownership over the years has represented what is good and wholesome in East Raleigh.

    Once one reads about the history of East Hargett St, especially the 100 block one can only be extremely proud that this buisness and building are still in existence.

    I want to give kudos to the Lane family and the Haywood family as well for keeping their part of the dream alive also.

  • juwannaknow Feb 12, 2010

    From one pharmacist to another....Kudos to you, my friend!