SLOCOMB – For four generations, the Dalton name has been associated with the pharmacy industry in Alabama. Twenty-year-old pharmacist Jep Paul “J.P.” Dalton set up shop in downtown Slocomb in 1903 to support his brother’s medical practice. Thursday, the Dalton Pharmacy at 141 S. Dalton St. celebrated its 120th year of operation.
“We started out as Dalton Drug Co., a small family-owned pharmacy. Over time, we changed our name to Dalton Pharmacy and expanded our services to include a broader range of healthcare products and services,” said Joe Dalton, the third-generation owner and pharmacist. Those services include vaccinations, over-the-counter medications and delivering to customers unable to leave their homes.
The Dalton Pharmacy group includes eight pharmacies in southeast and east-central Alabama and a ninth pharmacy in Double Springs in north Alabama. The Slocomb, Abbeville, Hartford, Troy and Opp stores operate under the Dalton name. The Dadeville, Headland, Luverne and Double Springs locations operate under other names. The group, which employs more than 50, bought the Headland and Luverne stores in the past year.
“We have ambitious plans for further expansion into new markets and communities,” Joe said. “We are actively exploring opportunities to open or purchase additional pharmacy locations. Our aim is to reach underserved areas, preserve small mom and pop pharmacies and support local communities.”
Thursday, during an all-day open house, the Alabama Retail Association presented Dalton Pharmacy with an Alabama Centennial Retailer award. The business received a bronze plaque to place outside its store and a certificate for display inside. The Dalton Pharmacy group has been an Alabama Retail Association member since 2013.
Slocomb in Geneva County, known for its timber and tomatoes, incorporated two years before J.P. Dalton opened Dalton Drug Co. As an early civic leader, J.P. served the community as a director of the Slocomb National Bank, a member of the school board and a deacon of the Slocomb Baptist Church. Besides medicines and over the counter drugs, the store sold seeds, jewelry, gifts and textbooks. First through 12th grade students at the Slocomb School would buy their books at the store.
J.P. had a stroke while attending a basketball game at the school in 1930 and died at age 49. His wife, Mantye Hollis Dalton, ran the business as a sundry store, dropping “drug” from the store’s name, until the oldest of her two sons, Charles Hollis Dalton, could graduate from Auburn University with a degree in pharmacy in 1934. Her youngest son, Paul Dalton, followed with a pharmacy degree in 1942. After four years in the Navy during World War II, Paul joined his brother in running the family pharmacy.
Paul, Joe’s father, practiced pharmacy for 60 years at the Slocomb store. “He never missed work, never complained,” Joe said of his father. Charles and Paul Dalton ran the store until Charles died in 1997.
Joe Dalton, who received his pharmacy degree in 1982, and Charlie Dalton, Charles’s son, both were full-time pharmacists at area hospitals, but helped their fathers run the Slocomb store as well.
From 1998 to 2008, Dalton Pharmacy moved to Slocomb Market Place Mini Mall on Alabama Highway 52 West. Joe had taken over ownership at that time and hired a pharmacist outside of the family, but Paul continued to work there until his death in 2006.
While the pharmacy operated elsewhere, Joe renovated the store at the corner East Slocomb St. and South Dalton St. as well as a business next door, moving the family business back to its downtown location and opening the connected Tomato Patch gift store in 2008. Elaine King is the current pharmacist at the Slocomb store.
Tyler Dalton, Joe’s son, received his pharmacy doctorate in 2016 and is the seventh Dalton family member to be a pharmacist, including his mother, Jodi, who is a community pharmacist in Auburn.
“My mother and father continue to inspire and motivate me every single day,” said the fourth-generation pharmacist, who practices pharmacy at the family’s Dadeville store and regularly visits the others. “It is truly an honor to follow in my family’s footsteps.”
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “For a business to survive the dramatic changes of the past century is a remarkable achievement. It is fitting to celebrate the enduring first-century contributions Dalton Pharmacy has made to Slocomb and the other communities it now serves.”
The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,300 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.