SELMER, Tenn. — Folks in and around McNairy County are saying goodbye to a trusted friend and a longtime business.
There's been a pharmacy in downtown Selmer for nearly 100 years, but now the Rexall at the corner of Court Avenue and North Second Street is closing.
Selmer Drug Company owner Bobby Mitchell made the decision with a heavy heart, but he will close knowing his drug store made a difference in the community. Whether it's filling prescriptions or dispensing a good dose of Southern hospitality, Bobby Mitchell has done it all on a daily basis.
Since 1958, his pharmacy in Selmer has played an important role in the McNairy County town as well as surrounding counties.
But now Mitchell is calling it quits.
"I became 80 years old was the big thing," he said. "And you have to decide whether you want to walk out or be carried out."
There has been a drug store in the same building since 1918.
Mitchell has continued the Rexall drugs legacy through two previous owners.
Since Mitchell announced the closing and his retirement, a steady stream of well-wishers have dropped by.
"He knows everybody here in town and everybody knows him," McNairy County resident Gerald Johnson said. "He's just been a good friend, and you don't find that too much now."
The drug store used to have a soda fountain, which was a big attraction for then-high school student Harold Cox of Ramer.
"I'd walk down here from the high school up here and eat here. Eat a sandwich and get a soda," he said.
Mitchell said the pharmacy business has changed a lot since he graduated in 1957. Back then, he said, a pharmacist didn't talk to a patient or even give the name of the drug being prescribed.
"Now we have to explain what it is, why they're taking it and what to look for," Mitchell said.
The drug store was scheduled to close for good Tuesday, but Bobby Mitchell and his wife Tommye will leave a lot more behind than a brick building; they will say good-bye to countless friends and loyal customers.
"When people would come in and we knew we were leaving, to look into their eyes and think, 'I won't see you probably again," Tommye Mitchell said.
Bobby Mitchell said he doesn't know what will happen to the building after me moves out.