Wheeler Pharmacy draws in loyal customers, including students and Coach Cal

By Rachel Sarnovsky

Welcomed by genuine employees and friendly neighborhood faces, Wheeler Pharmacy provides familiar service to dozens of customers every day.

“It’s always been a neighborhood business,” owner and founder William Wheeler said. “Although we’re close to the university in some respects, it’s still mostly families that live around the neighborhood and not students.”

Wheeler Pharmacy, an independent family-owned business in Lexington, offers necessities for everyday living as well as pharmaceutical needs.

“I feel like we’re able to provide a little better customer service experience and provide some things that maybe the chains don’t provide,” employee Stuart Wheeler said. “As well as the fountain, which is a great place for people to hang out and meet new people.”

One unique feature of the pharmacy is its 50s-style fountain lunch counter. It offers breakfast and lunch, opening at 9 a.m. and closing at 4 p.m. through the week and at 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

Rick Queen, a regular customer of the pharmacy for 20 years, said he loves the traditional atmosphere of the fountain. Wheeler Pharmacy is one of a few pharmacies

left that still has a fountain.

“We probably get more students at the restaurant counter out here than any place else,” William Wheeler said. “Some of them learn about it and start coming in.”

After 54 years of service, it is no surprise that Wheeler Pharmacy has loyal customers who come back year after year. Employees greet customers by their first

names and engage in household conversation.

“I think the neat thing about the place is that all the folks that work here all know everybody’s name,” Queen said. “They really get to know you.”

Another regular customer, B.G. Hubbs, said he loves the pharmacy because it is familiar and provides good company. He also mentioned that UK men’s basketball head coach John Calipari comes in to the pharmacy from time to time.

Along with Coach Cal, UK Hoops head coach Matthew Mitchell has started a game-day ritual at the pharmacy.

“Coach Mitchell is in here every time they have a home game, which is usually on Tuesdays or Thursdays, and he and a couple of his assistant coaches will come in,” William Wheeler said. “It’s kind of a tradition for them, I think.”

Stuart Wheeler encourages locals to branch out and visit the less recognized family-owned businesses around Lexington.

“I think we’ve got this mentality today that ‘big is better,’” he said. “Sure, the chains do have everything, but they may not be the only ones around and you might be able to get more for your money.”