Hanceville Drug Company still hopping after all these years

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The Hanceville Drug Company, the oldest pharmacy in Cullman County, is home to a 1950s-style soda fountain. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Stepping inside the Hanceville Drug Company is much like stepping into the past. The more than 100-year-old business offers modern day services but also takes you back in time with its old-fashioned soda fountain and vintage memorabilia.  

The pharmacy was opened in 1916 by the Veal brothers. Soon after Mr. C.T. Burkart took it over. Burkart built the building the pharmacy is in now in the 1930s. His grandson, Ben Burkart, now owns the family business, Like his father and grandfather, he attended Auburn University to become a pharmacist.  

Said Burkart, “Actually, grandpa went to Alabama and Auburn. He’d always say, ‘I went to Alabama to play football. I went to Auburn to get my education.’” 

Burkart took over the pharmacy in 2017. 

He explained, “Grandpa had it for 50 years, dad had it for 40 years. We’ll see how long I have it.”  

Burkart and his wife are expecting their first child, a daughter, in May. Burkart smiled, “Who knows? Maybe she’ll carry on the family tradition or maybe she’ll do something else.” 

A recent remodel of the pharmacy to accommodate a drive-thru window required clearing out storage rooms at the pharmacy. Antiques and treasured memories collected over the past 100 years were found and needed a new place. Ben made the decision to display the items throughout the store to share with visitors.  

Sports memorabilia from Hanceville High School and more are featured in a cabinet near the front of the store. A person can stop in for a variety of things at Hanceville Drug Company, including a history lesson. Enlarged articles from The Hanceville Hustler are hung for a fascinating trip through Hanceville’s rich past.  

The old-fashioned soda fountain still draws in kids after school to hang with friends while enjoying hand dipped ice cream or a cherry ice.  

“Apparently, the story goes, my grandpa was ending up throwing away a lot of the cherry juice that he had and he wanted to come up with something to use that for. That’s when he created the cherry ice. It’s shaved ice, a scoop of ice cream on top of that, then cherry juice and cherries. It’s kind of unique, the ice and ice cream together. This is the only place to get it as far as I know.” 

The Hanceville Drug Company also has a full-service pharmacy including drive thru and delivery to homebound clients. It also offers medication synchronization, health screenings and vaccinations.   

The Hanceville Drug Company is located at 101 Commercial St. SE, Hanceville, AL 35077. Find it online at www.hancevilledrug.com