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Shopping small with Hamlin Pharmacy 59 years later

Posted at 7:01 PM, Nov 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-01 13:33:34-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — After hitting the mall and other big retailers for Black Friday, shoppers went small.

Small Business Saturday is a national initiative, encouraging shoppers to spend money at local shops.

Hamlin Pharmacy and Fountain has been a Corpus Christi favorite for decades.

What was formerly known as Hamlin Pharmacy and Fountain has now become Hamlin Fountain, Gifts and Bakery. The Pharmacy and Fountain was opened in 1960 by Karl and Joanne Arnold, when Staples and Weber was just a four-way stop.

They quit filling prescriptions three years ago but have added a bakery and gift shop.

Karen Nicholson, is the daughter of pharmacist and founder Karl Arnold, and she is now the owner of Hamlin Fountain and Gifts + Bakery.

"My mom would bring us all down here for supper so that we could see my dad because he worked really long hours." Nicholson said.

Now as the owner, Karen is familiar with those long hours.

"It is a 24 hour job, it really is. You have to be committed to do your own business. But it's a labor of love."

Nicholson provides some insight on being a small business owner.

"You do a little bit of everything, you go home and you work and first thing you do, you get up and you come to work. "

Many local businesses, like Hamlin Fountain, give back to the community, keeping the dollars in Corpus Christi. These businesses also provide jobs in our community.

"It's so important to shop small. That money goes to support communities, schools, churches, all the donations that we make to help the fall fundraisers." Nicholson said.

"And the small businesses are what make each community unique. It gives it it's flavor."

The flavor of Hamlin's burgers and milkshakes, and the family atmosphere, are some of the many reasons people have been coming back for years.

"We have a lot of the same people. We have their children and now, we have their grandchildren as well because we have been open almost 60 years."

Gail Dorn, who was enjoying a late breakfast on Saturday, has been going to Hamlin fountain since 1981.

"Well they have a lot. The food is delicious and it's kind of old fashioned. The people are really personable. Plus, she has a lot to do. I buy almost all my gifts here." Dorn said.

Dorn says she always tries to shop local, even when she is out of town.

"Local businesses give to the community. They are us. They are the community."

When looking for a gift, Hamlin Pharmacy is usually her first stop.

"They've grown up here and I think they really reach out to the community and kind of understand what's there. I think that's why people like to come here to shop because they have what we want."

While it can be convenient to shop online or at a big box store, there are plenty of small businesses hoping you'll walk through their door this holiday season.

"So I hope that people can remember the small businesses today and throughout the holidays, just remember to shop us also." Nicholson said.