BY MEGAN MANN
FOR THE OBSERVER
The Miller family has owned Medical Arts Pharmacy in Opelika for over 40 years. Since Nov. of 1968 their business has been up and running.
Dennis Miller was 15 when his father first opened the store, and he has been helping out and working there ever since.
The pharmacy hit 1 million prescriptions sold recently, a goal that Miller has had for his store since he took it over from his father many years ago.
“I realize now how important it was for me to achieve that,” Miller said. “The great thing about hitting 1 million was that we hit a big goal. We got through the competition and the tough times. It was very exciting to hit it.”
Miller was born and raised in Opelika. He attended Opelika High School, then went on to graduate from Auburn University’s pharmacy school. He took over the family business in 1984 when his dad retired.
“It took my father about two years to get the business off the ground,” Miller said. “I would help out however I could. Throughout the summers when we opened the store, they didn’t need my help much, so I worked lots of different jobs, like construction, at a Marina at Lake Martin and other things that built my work ethic.”
Medical Arts Pharmacy has always been a family run business.
“My mother was the bookkeeper here for 15 years, but her main job was keeping us all in line,” Miller said. “My father passed this business down to me and I hope to pass it on to my son whenever I retire. It will be three generations of our family keeping this store going.”
Hitting 1 million in sales was a big goal for Miller and the loyalty of his customers is what helped him achieve it. Miller knows most of his customers personally and knows what they need right when they walk in the door.
“We have a lot of regulars, 90% of the people that come in here we know them by name,” Miller said. “We have people that drive from Lafayette, people from Jackson’s gap and Lake Martin. We even have one couple that lives in Florida somewhere that we send their medicine too.”
The Opelika Native believes that there are key components to keeping a business alive.
“Keeping a business going requires good personnel, good patient communication and constant reassurance to the patient that what you’re doing is to benefit them,” he said. “My favorite thing about pharmacy is knowing I helped somebody.”
The experienced pharmacist had some advice to give to current pharmacy school students.
“To the students pursuing pharmacy I would say work hard in school and learn as much as you can because once you graduate and enter the real world there is a lot more you will learn after,” Miller said. “There is a lot of common-sense stuff that goes into pharmacy. People skills and looking at the whole picture rather than a single prescription is important.”
Medical Arts Pharmacy is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and is located on 121 N. 20th St. in Opelika. The shop can be contacted at 334-745-5756.