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Historic Frenchtown pharmacy in need of improvements to building

Posted at 11:21 PM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 23:21:10-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Pharmacist Alexis Roberts McMillan's family owns Economy Drug Store, the oldest black-owned pharmacy in Leon County.

"New awnings or the painting of the building," said McMillan, pointing out some improvements that could be made to the building.

Its roots, here in Frenchtown since the '40s, then it was purchased by the Roberts family in 1951.

It's a staple in the community, today McMillan manages the pharmacy.

"They can come to us with questions to get answers to get their medications," McMillan said.

While many mainstream pharmacies have set up shops in the city, the Economy Drug Store has stood the test of time, but not without some wear and tear.

Their building, home to other businesses as well is in need of TLC.

"We're looking to upgrade, not remove to make sure that our business is going to have a facade that is a beautiful facade," said McMillan.

A new roof is already in the works with funds from the Community Redevelopment Agency Facade grant, but the $20,000 roof only solves part of the need.

"The community has seen a lot of their history erased and you just can't get that back and you can't put a price tag on that," said City commissioner Jack Porter.

Porter says a solution, is protecting historical businesses like this and making money available to help, so conditions of the property won't make it a candidate for demolition.

"Making sure property's like this if they want to be are included on local historic registers, that they have certain protections from demolition," Porter said.

While the structure of the building is sound, McMillan says the drug store is one of few historic businesses in Frenchtown that are still around.

They hope to get city support to keep it that way.

"I've been here all my life, I like the idea that the city is willing to help us with making sure we have what we need to be a better place for the community," said McMillan.

Commissioner Porter says she is advocating for more government money to go towards preserving historical businesses and landmarks.

McMillan says they aren't sure when they will start work on their new roof but hope the improvements will bring more people to Frenchtown.