By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
For 30 years Village Drug, formally Drug Fair, has been in the hands of Jesse and Sharon Parks.
The New Year saw a stalwart addition to the Conrad economy being bought by the Utterback brothers, Brandon and Loren, of Fort Benton.
It was the first business to open in the newly constructed Pondera Village Shopping Center, located at 600 S. Main St.
Brandon, 28-years-old, was born and raised in Longhorn Country and after he graduated from high school, he went on to the UofM—Missoula School of Pharmacy.
He tells the I-O that he chose pharmacy as a career because “I love to help people and I found it interesting.”
He went on to add, “You can goanywhere, small town or big city, as a pharmacist, and also, there was a high demand for jobs when I was going to school.” He and his wife Callie, have a daughter, Rowen.
When he gets the chance, he likes to attend or participate in sporting events, work out, take part in all kinds of outdoor activities and go to movies.
Brandon can also be found on Facebook and a little known fact about him is that he loves dogs— big, little and in between and no matter what the breed is.
Village Drug is more than just a drug store. It handles a wide variety of quality services and products for its customers, ranging from sporting goods to having the best magazine rack in town.
If they don’t have what you need, they will try and get it for you. Providing a variety of products is still a top priority of the store.
Helping Brandon behind the counter is pharmacist Mike Bowers, a veteran of 10 years at the store and Pharmacy Tech Ann Morren who has also been behind the counter for six years.
The pharmacy, on Saturday, is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The phone number at the store is 278-3267.
The brothers are working up new hours for the store. They will also be rotating between the two businesses.
If one is good, two is better. With that in mind the Utterback brothers also purchased Olson’s Drug, 5 4th Ave. SE right next door to the Orpheum Theatre. The phone number is 278-3261.
Olson’s Drug was purchased from Pharmacist Pete McKeone and his wife Glenda, who bought the business from Harold Olson in 1989.
For the most part, Olson’s Drug is where you will find the older brother Loren, 29-years-old.
He too was born and raised in Fort Benton, and after graduating from high school he went to the UofM—Missoula School of Pharmacy.
He has been a pharmacist for five years, filling prescriptions, counseling patients, and as a new owner of a pharmacy store, doing a lot of paper work.
Like Village Drug, Olson’s offers a wide variety of items which in part includes a super selection of cards, and a second floor with a neat toy selection.
But what makes the store unique is its soda fountain which serves up malts, sodas and ice-cream cones. They also will pour a hot cup of java for customers who just want a comfy place to sit and sip.
There are not many real soda fountains anymore, but in their “hey-day” they were an extremely popular hang-out for young folks, or a neat meeting place for all ages.
Utterback and his wife Rachel have a daughter, Eve, and a dog named Cy. When he has a chance, he likes to go snowboarding, biking and hiking or participate in just about any sport.
His favorite TV programs are Pardon the Interruption and Modern Family.
You can follow him on both Facebook and Twitter and a little known fact about Conrad’s new pharmacist is “I enjoy playing golf poorly and I lived in Denver for 4-1/2 years.
He tells the I-O, “We are excited to be back in Montana and be able to make our home in Conrad.”
If you haven’t had a chance, stop by Village Drug or Olson Drug and welcome Brandon and Loren to the community.