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Bandera Drug opens Wednesday, Jan. 6

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

It's been almost seven months since the groundbreaking in June, but principal investors Wayne and Sheila Antenen and Niki and Fred Collins are excited to announce the opening of Bandera Drug. The store will open Wednesday, Jan. 6, with a more festive "Grand Opening" planned for later.
Hours will be Monday through Friday, 9 am to 6 pm; 9 am to 2 pm Saturdays and closed Sundays.
The beautiful structure features hewn native limestone with a copper-finished roof, metal western motifs, antique corrugated tin accents, and classic wood touches. Designed and built by Fred Collins with help from son, Garrett, along with several local subcontractors, it is sure to be a centerpiece of Cowboy Capital architecture for years to come.
Bandera Drug is conveniently located at the corner of 11th Street and Mulberry (1100 Mulberry) next to D'Spain Sales and Service. Hondo National Bank provided the financing for the project.
Customers will be happy to see plenty of familiar faces when they enter the new shop. "We've got the whole crew from Crawford Pharmacy [formerly in Lowe's Grocery] with us," said Niki Collins.
Collins, a certified pharmacy tech for 20 years, and Wayne Antenen, marking his 40th year as a registered pharmacist, first began talking about partnering to create a home-owned pharmacy when Crawford was planning to sell to a large national chain. "We let them know about our interest but they didn't want to deal," said Antenen.
After Crawford closed, the duo, joined by spouses Fred Collins and Sheila Antenen, began serious planning for owning and operating a pharmacy.
Motivation was two-fold. "We want to treat our employees right, and we sincerely want to be 'your hometown pharmacy,' like it says on our sign," Antenen said. He added that as a young pharmacist just out of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, he was warned against opening a hometown pharmacy. People would try to take advantage, he was told. However, Antenen sees close friendships with his customers as a plus, not a negative.
"Customer service is going to be a key part of the way we do business," Collins offered.
Both are excited about having a business that will get involved in the community. Niki and Fred have been living in Bandera County most of their lives, raising their family in the Medina area and operating Fred Collins' Workshop on Highway 16.
The Antenens are relative newcomers to the community, but "we're active in the Bandera United Methodist Church and those folks just made sure we're just like native Texans," Wayne said. The couple also own Gone Quiltin' on Cedar Street, where Sheila loves to demonstrate her quilting skills. "We had sort of planned on retiring and instead we now find ourselves owners of two businesses," she said.
The whole crew showed up Monday morning and braved a cold, stiff north wind for a photo shoot. "Welcome to Bandera Drug," everyone shouted, demonstrating their Texas friendly waves, from a casual howdy salute, to a regal Queen Elizabeth-style palm twist.
Shelves still needed to be stocked, odds and ends needed to be finished.
Collins also explained that they will be working with a totally new computer system, so "please be patient when you first come in, so we can enter your information correctly." In fact, stop in before your first prescription needs to be filled and get entered into the system.
Being patient won't be difficult in the beautiful building. Prints of historic Bandera paintings line the walls, along with a colorful flag quilt. There are plenty of chairs for customers to avoid standing in line.
Even the security bars covering the windows are lovely - copper-toned metal bars bent in graceful curves hinting at winter grasses bending softly in a Hill Country breeze.
Call 830-796-3111 for more information.