Celebrating Our 10th Year


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The soda fountain in early days.

George M. Bird Sr.

L-r: Carvy Snell, Cassie Tucker, Pharmacist Vaughn Wallace and unidentified clerk, 1970s.

IHS

Pharmacy & Gifts

Celebrating Our 10th Year Saluting George M. Bird Jr. at Lyons Pharmacy while still in pharmacy school.

George Bird Sr. with Elder Hardwick Lanier

BIRD DRUG CO. circa 1909

  Bird Drug Company first opened its doors in 1909 on North Broad Street, after pharmacist-owner George M. Bird graduated from Southern College of Pharmacy in Atlanta. He graduated second in his class and was degreed an apothecary license for highest score on the state board examination.   In addition to the store in Metter, he owned drug stores in Summit, Cobbtown, Collins, Reidsville and Register. In 1919, Mr. Bird sold half interest in Bird Drug Company of Metter to J. Carl Eason, a pharmacist. Years later, he sold the store to Mr. Eason, who re-named it Eason Drug Company. Mr. Bird subsequently purchased Franklin Drug Company in Metter from Fagin Franklin, changing its name

to Bird Drug Company.   The hallmark of Bird Drug has been its famous soda fountain, which featured milk shakes and soft drinks and has been featured in area and state publications.   When Mr. Bird retired in 1952, his son, George M. Jr. continued to operate the store with Mr. Bird’s business partner, E. E. Fortner. After five years, the store, located in what is now the martial arts studio, was sold to Mr. Fortner who changed the name to Fortner Drugs. The younger Mr. Bird then opened Bird Drug Company on South Broad, next to Trapnell Tomlinson Company. There it remained until 2001, when new owners Dean and Krista Stone relocated to their present location on South Leroy Street.

Published September 24, 2008 • The Metter Advertiser

The George M Years  

George M. Bird Jr. circa 1990s

F

or more than 50 years, George M. Bird Jr. helped care for the needs of a growing Metter community, filling prescriptions and meeting the needs of his customers -- and offering a refreshing soda or milk shake on the side!   While working his way through college at Southern College of Pharmacy (now part of Mercer University), Mr. Bird took a hiatus from his studies to return to military duty. He had first served two years after graduating from high school (1945 to 1947). He met Marcile Hooks, when her brother, V.H. Hooks asked Mr. Bird to take his sister out one evening while he was home for a visit. The couple married

George M. Bird Jr. behind the counter

George M. Bird Jr. service photo, 1951

The early days at Bird Drug Company.

Cassie Tucker, long-time clerk

in 1951 and then he returned to Southern College of Pharmacy to complete his degree, graduating in 1952.   Under the direction of Mr. Bird, many local pharmacists obtained valuable experience.   Mr. Bird was also actively involved in horse racing, owning interest in Sweet Georgia Brown, Pep Step Ahead and Pacific Red Jet. In between his busy schedule, he also took up farming, tending part of the farm owned by his Under the direction of Mr. Bird, grandfather, Josiah Bird, many local pharmacists who was the obtained valuable experience. first chairman of the County Commission.   George M. and Marcile have three children. Their oldest son, Mack Bird of Watkinsville, followed his father’s and grandfather’s interest in healthcare and is a general practitioner in Eastman. Mack originally attended school to become a pharmacist before he returned to medical school to pursue a career as a physician. He and his wife Lisa have four children, Haley, Hilary, Jordy and Macy. Daughter Lennie, an art teacher, and Norman Boatright of Florence, S.C., have two children, Ike and Julia. Their youngest child, the late Hudson Bird, has two daughters, Marcie and Libby who reside in Flat Rock, N.C.

The store located beside Trapnell Tomlinson.

IHS Pharmacy is born

A

s a student in Jeffersonville, Dean Stone knew he wanted to be in medicine. What he wanted to do was help people; what he didn’t want to do was to be the bearer of bad news when diagnosing a patient. A career in pharmacy provided him the perfect fit -helping customers cope through times of illness. And, he knew he wanted to be an independent pharmacist, not restricted to the rules and regulations governing corporate business.   With this goal in mind, he transferred from Mercer to Middle Georgia College to the University of Georgia, where he met Krista DeLoach of Metter during her freshman year. With a pharmacy degree in hand, Dean was ready to practice, but did not want to return to his hometown. He began working as a junior partner through Macon County Drugs in Montezuma, and he and Krista stayed in Perry for six months after they were married. In 1996, the couple moved to Metter, where he worked with Rite Aid and she worked for Publix in Statesboro. It was then that Dean began talking with George M. Bird about the possibility of purchasing his pharmacy upon Mr. Bird’s retirement.   After some discussion, Mr. Bird became receptive to the idea, and on September 21, 1998, the Stones became the owners of Bird Drug Company, changing the name to Bird’s Prescription Corner.   With goals for expansion and other business opportunities in mind, Dean and Krista began looking for a new location for their pharmacy. The Metter Ford dealership had just moved to its

Construction underway.

location off I-16, and a vision began to take shape in the Stones’ minds. They purchased the building and after extensive remodeling, opened the doors at their new location in January 2001.   Two additional stores were later purchased and brought into the family business: Wilkes Drug Store in Cobbtown and a new store in Jeffersonville. For economic purposes -- and to give the three stores a uniform identity -- the Stones changed the names of the stores to IHS (Innovative Health Systems) Pharmacy.   During the expansion of their business and new construction/ remodeling, Dean also took on an added challenge -- he was elected president of the Georgia Pharmacy Association, a five-year commitment. He also served on the MetterCandler Chamber of Commerce and the Academy of Independent Pharmacy Board.   While facing the challenges of a rapidly growing business, Dean and Krista also took on new challenges on the home front -- raising a family. The Stones have five children, twins Hannah and Harrison, 7; Emmi, 5; Jasper, 4 and Laci, 2, whom they home-school.   The family is also actively involved in Excelsior Baptist Church where Dean is a deacon and Sunday School teacher and Krista is pianist.

Inside of Bird’s Prescription Corner before the move.

The former Metter Ford location.

The former service department at Metter Ford.

IHS after its reconstruction.

From the Stones

The ribbon cutting at IHS Pharmacy’s present location in 2001.

George M. and Marcile Bird with Dean and Krista Stone at the Business After Hours event in September.

We are so humbled and honored to be celebrating our 10 years in business in such a wonderful community. First and foremost, we give thanks to God for His wisdom and strength in allowing us to embark on such an endeavor. Everything in our possession is ultimately His and we are in awe that he would give us such responsibilities! We are also indebted to our family for all of their help throughout the years, for without them we could not be where we are today. A special thank you to George M. and Marcile Bird are in order. Without their willingness to sell their business and trust us with the ability to carry on such a great tradition of independent pharmacy, we are not sure we would be looking back from our vantage point. Certainly, it could not go unsaid the gratitude we feel toward out staff. The face of IHS Pharmacy is the hard working people that you see when you walk through the doors and those that are behind the scenes as well. The many people that have been with us through the years have all added to the legacy known, as IHS and we are eternally thankful for what they have meant to us. Of all the places that we could have set our roots, we thank God, and a little persuasion on Krista’s part, that Metter is our home. This is Krista’s hometown, but I understand the tie that she feels towards family, friends and community. We were so comfortable with the idea of raising a family here that we decided to add 5 future citizens to the city of Metter! We look forward to what the years have in store for us in such a beloved community. We also look forward to raising our children here and giving them the advantages only available in a small town. Finally, We want to say thank you to those in Metter and Candler County who have trusted us with your healthcare needs. We are honored you would do so and without you, we would have never been able to celebrate these 10 wonderful years.

rison Stone. L-r: Emmi, Jasper, Laci, Hannah and Har

Thanks, Dean and Krista Stone