3579 US-17 Bus

Murrells Inlet, SC 29576

M-F 9a-6p Sat 9a-2p


growing up in a drugstore



Melissa Cain Lee

I grew up in a drugstore. My dad, Wilson Cain, was a pharmacist.  He and my mom owned and operated Southside Pharmacy in Myrtle Beach.
Some of my earliest memories Are growing up in a drugstore. I spent wandering the aisles pretending to shop. I would grab my play pocketbook and a buggy (down south that is what we call a shopping cart).  I would proceed to “buy” things for my pretend family.  I would come up with how many children I had and what their names were. I would then proceed to go up and down the aisles “shopping” for them.  After “paying” for my items, I would put everything back and begin again!

I can remember that in the first Southside Pharmacy, there was a small cabinet in the school supply aisle that had sliding doors.  I was little enough to fit inside, and I would act like that was my house. I also remember there was a corner in the back that housed baby formula boxes and they were stacked so high and in a perfect “u” shape that it also served as my house.

I met one of my best friends in that little drugstore when I was around five.  She would come in during the summer and would buy a scoop of chocolate ice cream for a dime. She ate chocolate ice cream so often that my parents nicknamed her “Little Miss Chocolate” and if they were alive today that is exactly what they would call her. She was the maid of honor at mine & Willie’s wedding and still one of my very best friends. (Hi Amy!)

Every morning before school, my dad took my brother and me to the drugstore where Miss Mildred and Miss Clara would fix breakfast for the two of us. My favorite was when they served the strawberry topping for ice cream as the jelly for my toast. As I waited for my breakfast, I read comic books from the magazine aisle. My favorites were anything “Richie Rich” or from the “Archie” series. The older I got, I turned my attention to “Tiger Beat” and “Seventeen” magazines.

While we ate our breakfast, men from the community would come in for breakfast as well and as they waited to eat, they would sit around trying to “solve the world’s problems.” They always knew how “things ought to be done.” Even after Southside Pharmacy was nothing but a memory, my dad still met daily over breakfast with a group of men who were still trying to solve the world’s problems!

After breakfast, in the early years, my brother and I were taken to school by our delivery driver, Raleigh Wall. We would load up in the delivery car – which was my mom’s used olive green, wood paneled station wagon – and set off. It was ok until Middle School, but then we had him drop us off on the side near the road. We had to do what it took to keep up the facade of being cool. We all know how tough Middle School can be!

I played with my paper dolls on the steps of my mom’s office as she paid the bills and balanced the books. I even celebrated some of my birthdays at the Soda Fountain which served anything from hotdogs to a daily lunch special. My favorite lunch special was on Tuesdays which was Chicken Bog Day. That Chicken Bog was made in a big silver pressure cooker with yellow rice, and it is still one of my favorite dishes ever! Cups of coffee were 5 cents and locals would stop in each day for an afternoon coffee break and to once more try and “solve the world’s problems.”

If I got sick at school, I got picked up by that same delivery driver and was brought to the store until mom could take me home. The first 27 years of my life never knew a day without Southside Pharmacy, and I could probably fill a book with all the memories and life lessons that growing up in that drugstore has given me.
The time I spent playing and working there shaped me into the person I am today. Each aisle is imprinted in my memory as well as the people who shopped with us! My dad was Willie’s family pharmacist. Even though they lived in the Inlet and Surfside, they still went to Myrtle Beach to get their prescriptions filled! People just did that back in the day.

When Willie was in school, he interned under my dad at Southside and that is where our relationship began. And now, three decades later, we are blessed beyond measure to be able to continue the legacy of owning & operating an Independent Pharmacy that strives to take care of the community just like my dad & Southside used to do.

There is something special that cannot often be put into words about how growing up in a drugstore is a magical way to spend a childhood. I want to thank each person who has chosen Lee’s Inlet Apothecary as their pharmacy over the years. You have truly been a part of our family.
Southside Pharmacy lives on as just a memory. My parents are both gone and many who worked with them are gone as well, BUT their legacy lives on and their memories are kept in a very special part of my heart.

When I watch Willie work, I am reminded of my dad in so many ways. When I fold Salty Goat T-Shirts, I am reminded of my fourteen-year-old self-folding those shirts in Southside! As our children played, worked, and grew up here at The Apothecary, I am reminded of my parents’ legacy and the good, good life the Lord has given us. I am beyond grateful! Thank you for TWENTY YEARS!

-Melissa Cain Lee