‘We’re all like family’: Cowart Drugs holds 100th anniversary celebration

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer

CALERA — The historic Cowart Drugs of Calera has had just four owners in its 100-year-long history, and three of the four were on hand Saturday, Sept. 12 to commemorate the store’s Centennial.

“I’ve watched you grow up,” Steve Cowart, who ran the store from 1972-1993, said to the store’s current owner Kacie White. Cowart took over the business from his father, Cecil, who first opened its doors in 1920.

“This has been my dream,” said White, who took over in 2014 and started working at Cowart Drugs when she was a teenager. “I wanted to do something in medicine, and I love helping people. I’ve always been a people person so I thought this was the perfect fit.”

Steve Cowart sat under a tent behind a framed portrait of his father, talking with both White and former owner Theresa Harris who ran the business from 1993-2014. The three gathered for group photos as they took a moment to reminisce.

“I’m so happy to be here with everybody,” Harris said. “This is an amazing store, and to be able to pass it down to amazing people, I think that’s the heart of the store. We’re all like family.”

Longtime customer Wanda Harper agreed. Harper said that when her son-in-law was battling bone cancer, they brought medicine to his home and helped him get access to needed equipment such as a wheelchair.

“It’s a little town with a big heart,” Harper said.

Also on hand to help celebrate were Birmingham Axe Throwing, classic car group Retired Rides, and volunteers braiding young girls’ hair while attendees enjoyed free food and goody bags full of giveaways.

The celebration was held in the parking lot of the Cowart Drugs building on U.S. 31, which dates back to 1884.

“We just wanted to give back to the community,” White said.

Added Calera Main Street Director Jackie Batson, “Calera Main Street is so proud of Cowart Drugs. It is a staple of our beloved city. We’re just tickled to have such a great business in town. We’ve had a really great turnout, and it has been good to see all the people reminisce.”