Nostalgic neighborhood pharmacy closing after 60 years

By Stefanie

CHARLESTON, S. C. (WCIV) --{}Tellis Pharmacy has supplied medicine and items to customers in the downtown area since the days when prescriptions were delivered to your doorstep.

The King Street landmark is now closing its doors after 60 years in business.

Sisters Vera Tellis and Alice Tellis Critikos, both in their 80s, are closing their family pharmacy business that opened in 1952. The sisters say it hurts to have to close, but they both agree it's time.

"Sixty years is a long time. I served my time, and I feel like it's time to do something else," said Vera Tellis, co-owner of Tellis Pharmacy.

At its height, the sisters say Tellis Pharmacy was a one-stop shop with a soda fountain, pharmacy and convenience store.

"It was the most wonderful place in the whole world," said co-owner Alice Tellis Critikos. "It was so many people and children and families around here that this place was cluttered every minute of the day."

But times started to change on lower King Street. Critikos says the thriving neighborhood had its soul ripped out when{}homes were replaced with a city garage and county court house.

"The business around this neighborhood is zero. There is no walking traffic on this one block. It stops on Queen Street and turns around," Critikos said. "It was just the soda fountain. Thousands of neighbors around here, and now we have none."

But, the memories are plenty as a handful of loyal customers stopped by to say goodbye on Friday.

"I brought these ladies flowers. They've been very good to me. All these years coming down to court, and it's a present for a sad moment," said regular customer, Jeff Williams.

The Tellis sisters say their doors will officially close when they sell out of their remaining merchandise.

"The building is ours. We don't want to sell it. We will keep it as long as we can, and we will try to rent the bottom space," Critikos said.

The Tellis{}sisters say they plan on keeping their historic Tellis Pharmacy neon sign{}hanging above King Street for{}as long as possible.