Image: Hector Sanchez

Special to Find It In Fondrenâ„¢

This fall marks 70 years since the iconic Brent’s Drugs first opened its doors to the people of Jackson.

Doors opened in early fall 1946 with the completion of Morgan Center, the first shopping center in Mississippi, later renamed Woodland Hills Shopping Center. Pharmacist Alvin Brent left Patterson’s Drug in the Plaza Building downtown, known at the time as the Standard Life Building. He set out to open up his own pharmacy and soda fountain in the Fondren neighborhood.

From those very first days, Brent’s was much more than a successful and busy pharmacy, but it quickly became a gathering spot for friends and neighbors. The burgers and shakes were a quick fan favorite. Brent owned and ran the pharmacy until 1977, when he sold it to pharmacists Paul Heflin and Bob Grantham, who had worked at Brent’s since 1951. Pharmacist Randy Calvert acquired Brent’s in 1995 and sold the pharmacy business in April 2009. Fondren resident Brad Reeves obtained a pharmacy-free Brent’s in July 2009 and partners Jonathan Shull and Amanda and Nathan Wells came on board in 2014.

Brent’s soda fountain and classic bar stools remain in the original 1946 location that remains, 70 years later, as a gathering place for the community. Brent’s Drugs continues to prescribe soda fountain favorites and Southern hospitality.

70 years after the Jackson staple’s opening, the owners of Brent’s Drugs are out to honor the establishment’s history while looking ahead to a bright future. Brent’s will stay open late on September 29, 2016 to toast the community that has long supported Brent’s mission — to be a gathering spot for anyone and everyone. The celebration will be complete with birthday cake, specialty shakes, and live music.