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Story #80Patterson’s Drug StoreMartinsburg, WV

He believed in helping people, and I do too. I enjoy seeing progress and improving people’s lives in the community.

George Karos essentially grew up at Patterson’s Drug Store in Martinsburg, W.Va. The old-fashioned drugstore was opened by James A. Patterson in 1926, and little has changed in the years since. The original soda fountain, marble countertop, and antique photo booth are still there, and the quality of service remains unmatched by the large chains that have inundated the surrounding area in recent years.

Karos lost his father at a young age, and Patterson took him under his wing and gave him his first job – delivering prescriptions on a bicycle. Over the years, Karos experienced all aspects of the business, from working the soda fountain and the cosmetic counter to the prescription department. After college and a stint in the Navy, he purchased the store when Patterson passed away and has owned it since 1980.

“I think the secret is that we give personalized service,” says Karos. In addition to their 24-hour emergency prescription service, if people don’t have a means of paying for their prescription, Patterson’s Drug Store will cover it for them, essentially as a write off. “Service, price, and quality is how we survive,” says Karos, and it’s what sets them apart from other competing pharmacies.

In addition to running Patterson’s, Karos is currently in his fourth term as the mayor of Martinsburg, W.VA. and applies several of the lessons he learned from Patterson to both positions. “I like to get things done, but I’ve discovered that it takes time. The wheels of progress run very slowly in government.” He recalls one of the things Patterson would always say.

“If you’re going to do something, do it right. Take your time in doing it.”

 

Photos by Nadav Neuhaus

  • Founded in 1926, Patterson’s Drug Store offers the opportunity to step back in time to a place where the pharmacy was also the local fountain shop, and the pharmacist is also the mayor.

  • A pharmacist at Patterson’s Drug Store mixes medicine by hand. Patterson’s has managed to stay in business despite an influx of chain pharmacies, because of their excellent customer service. In addition to their 24-hour emergency prescription service, if people don’t have a means of paying for their prescription, Patterson’s Drug Store will cover it for them, essentially as a write off.

  • Customers sit for a drink from Patterson’s old-time soda fountain. The marble-top counter is popular among the locals and other downtown business folks.

  • Old prescriptions dating back for years are kept hanging in a back room at Patterson’s Drug Store.

  • Old bottles of medicine can still be found on the dusty back shelves of Patterson’s Drug Store.

  • Seated at his desk, George Karos overlooks the store, which he took over ownership of in 1980. Karos is currently in his fourth term as mayor of Martinsburg, W.Va., and says that his role in the community is “a facilitator, someone who can bring people together for a common cause.”

  • George Karos working at his desk in Patterson’s Drug Store. Karos’s days are split between the drugstore and City Hall, where he attends to his responsibilities as mayor of Martinsburg, W.Va.

  • George Karos, owner of Patterson’s Drug Store. Over the years, Karos experienced all aspects of the business, from working the soda fountain to the cosmetic counter, prescription department, and now owning the store.

  • Thelma Allport, a long-time clerk at Patterson’s Drug Store in Martinsburg, W.Va. “I have employees who have been with me some 10, 15, 20 years, and I depend on them,” says owner George Karos. “I’m very fortunate that way.”

Business Details

Proprietor: George Karos
134 S Queen St. Martinsburg, WV 25401
PH: 304-267-8903 / Website
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