Jim Carpenter, a Small-Town Pharmacist, Maintains 50-Year Legacy

Miranda Daniel

Jim Carpenter, 72, from Madison, Georgia, is the owner and pharmacist for a small pharmacy, Union Pharmacy, in Union Point, Georgia. He started working there in 1969 as an intern before buying out the pharmacy from the two owning partners. After buying the pharmacy, he renamed it Union Pharmacy, so it would not be associated with a family name.

What makes a man stay in one place for nearly 50 years? He said that he stayed because he is independent and his own boss. Independence and supporting locally owned businesses are important to Carpenter. But there is more to the story than just that.

For Carpenter, the pharmacy is more than just a job. The care he has for his customers is evident, and his example is followed by his two employees. Sometimes he is too busy to interact with customers as they come in. But Marie Burden, 49, the pharmacy technician, from Union Point, Georgia, and Faye Brook, 67, from Crawfordville, Georgia, carry out the pharmacy’s policy of care.

Some customers charge their purchases to their accounts at the pharmacy. Carpenter explained that sometimes people do not have the money when they come in. But he knows they will pay it back. Other people, who charge their accounts, prefer paying for their prescriptions one time per month.

There are times that a customer comes in and cannot pay at all. Lucky for his customers, Carpenter is the owner of the pharmacy, which allows him to make executive decisions. Such as giving people the medicine they need even if they cannot pay for it.

He takes pride in the fact that there is not someone telling him how to run his business or interact with the people who need his help.

Carpenter said he learned a lot of things about being a pharmacist and how you should treat people from the previous pharmacist.

Carpenter and his wife, Joan, live next door to the pharmacy in an upstairs apartment. It is close enough for Jim to walk to work. And if someone calls the pharmacy, he can fill prescriptions even when the pharmacy is supposed to be closed.

Maybe that is the point for Carpenter. Living out the so called golden rule of treating people like you would want to be treated – making sure the people who come to Union Pharmacy are treated with care and consideration.

Miranda Daniel is a senior majoring in journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.