Mr. E. R. Coleman purchased Coleman's Drug Store, formerly Penny's Drug Store, from Mr. A. R. Penny. Mr. Penny employed Mr. Coleman when he was a young man. He received his pharmacist license in 1913 from The Louisville College of Pharmacy. In 1916 he then purchased the business. At that time their telephone number was two.
Not much is known about when a drug store was started at this site, but prescriptions pasted in large books were found in the attic of the old building which date back to 1881. Prescriptions, prior to 1881, had been strung on wires across the attic ceiling. Mr. Coleman decided to clean out some of the clutter and dumped several loads of antique bottles along with the older prescriptions many years ago somewhere in Lincoln County.
The store sold many items in bulk in the earlier years. To name a few, there was lime, blue stone, seeds of all kinds, glue, horehound candy, school supplies, paint and much more. They also sold schoolbooks, which were used in Stanford and Lincoln County Schools. Cosmetics, perfumes, fancy perfume bottles were popular items. Some of the most popular gifts at Christmas for the ladies were beautiful dresser sets. Dolls, toys and games were also sold.
Soon after Mr. Coleman purchased the store, he added a beautiful and ornate cherry back bar and a fountain with a white marble top. The store was already a gathering spot for townspeople, politicians, doctors and lawyers but the fountain was quite a drawing card for a large group of ladies as well. For many years the ladies enjoyed gathering together at Coleman's for their afternoon Coke. The children in town enjoyed dashing in after school for Cokes, ice cream, cherry smashes and to read comic books. Today many lawyers and businessmen still start the day gathering for coffee and story swapping.
Lincoln Countians, especially in earlier days, took their politics very seriously. In 1917, Smith Baughman defeated Ed Hubbard in the race for sheriff. Hubbard, enraged by the outcome, shot Baughman in the back of the head as he was entering Coleman's Drug Store. There was much excitement and someone grabbed Hubbard and took him to jail. An unusual sentence was given Hubbard. He was banished from Lincoln County and ordered never to set fool in the county again.
Medicine was mostly compounded in the early years and there were no antibiotics until just before WWII when sulfa drugs and penicillin were discovered. Many families used home remedies. They bought the ingredients at the drug store. They sold asafetida, which some people used to tie up in bags and hang around their children's neck to ward off germs. Perhaps they were effective, as the smell was enough to keep people at a distance.
Mr. Coleman passed away in August 1964. His nephew, Alfred Harris Pence became the owner. The store continued to run as it had been. Alfred Harris had worked for his uncle as pharmacist for many years. Many young people from Stanford High School had worked at Coleman's Drug over the years. The boys usually had to shave all of the ice for the fountain by hand in the days before ice machines. All of Mr. Coleman's nieces and nephews had their turn working there, including the "Pence kids."
In 1969, Alfred Harris Pence Jr. graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy and joined his father in the drug business as pharmacist and manager. Alfred Jr. later became co-owner and president of the corporation. In 1998, Alfred Jr. purchased the "VanArsdale" building next door with the intention of enlarging the store. The remodeling was a tremendous undertaking but the pharmacy, which was moved to the newly acquired building, was opened in April 2000 and the original side with the fountain opened in July • 2000. The added space enabled them to add a gift and sandwich shop managed by Sandy Pence Lucas.
The restored tin ceilings, antique show cases, cherry back bar and many antique relics throughout the store create an atmosphere of an historic downtown establishment. The "Schwartz drawers" displayed (and in use) have been used in the pharmacy since 1909.
Only a few old family businesses remain on" Main Street. Coleman's truly a family business with several family members working. Ruth Ann Pence Lowe works as a pharmacist. In 1997, Bryan Pence began the next generation of family as he joined the store as a Pharmacy Technician and helps to manage the store. With ties to the past firmly set they plan to serve the citizens of Stanford and Lincoln County with up-to-date prescription service and convenient courteous service in all departments.