As a little girl, Taylore Clark used to run up and down the aisles of Bob Clark’s Pharmacy in Havelock.
Her grandparents operated the iconic store for a half century until 2008.
Now, the building has reopened as Clark’s Antiques, Art and Collectables with Taylore Clark at the helm.
The new store held a grand opening Saturday, welcoming residents back into the 14,000 square-foot space that was the heart and soul of the city for so long.
"It feels good being in here. I just feel very happy and it’s a great thing," Clark said Saturday. "I grew up here in the aisles. I worked here and ran the soda fountain. I just grew up here. This is my childhood."
Her grandfather came by Saturday and said he was proud of Taylore for using the space and keeping it in the family.
"She’s a nice girl. She deserves it," the 94-year-old said.
The patriarch of the family remembered a time when the pharmacy was the place to be.
"We had everything we wanted. If somebody wanted it, we’d give it to them. If you didn’t like it, we’d take it back," he said. "We had a nice store."
He opened the pharmacy in 1957 at the Havelock Commercial Shopping Center but moved in 1963 to the present site at the corner of Trader Avenue and West Main Street.
Joe Hailey remembered what it was like to come to Clark’s back in the day.
"All the world’s problems were solved back here in the snack bar area and the fountain," he said. "Everybody would come in at lunchtime or after work in the evenings and just sit around and drink coffee and visit the Clarks. The mayor, the commissioners, everybody would stop by.
"You couldn’t get in here at lunchtime back in the good days because it was so crowded. It was a pharmacy. There was a big Christmas room that used to be in here. They had everything in here. If you could not get it in here at Bob Clark’s, you didn’t need it, used to be the old saying back in the good old days."
Hailey will work as the store’s part-time clerk.
"It’s exciting because this was the cornerstone of Havelock," Taylore Clark said. "It was here for so many years of course and then the Clarks getting up in age and retiring and then Steve with his untimely death, it was just great to see it come back to life."
Robert Steve Clark, Taylore’s father and son of Bob Clark, was the last Clark to operate the pharmacy. He died of cancer in 2008, and the store closed two months later.
"I think my dad would be really happy to see the building the way it is," Taylore Clark said. "It was getting old and run down and we put a lot of time into it. My mom has an antique store in New Bern and we both really like antiques and we thought this would be a really cool thing to do.
"A lot of work went into it. We cleaned it up, put new tiles in, new lighting, new electric, new heating and air, new roof, and it turned out really good."
She said her grandfather is pleased.
"He’s very excited that we put time and money into the building and redid it," she said. "He’s very happy it’s in the family and that we didn’t have to sell it. He’s happy that we’re in here. He’s very excited for us."
Carolyn Clark, the oldest daughter of Bob and Stella Clark, also grew up in the original store.
"We were just little children. We’d come down and spend the day and then when we were old enough to see over the counter we could start bagging," she said. "Daddy took us back to the storage area in the back and taught us how to make change. We started out really young, all of us. We all worked here, all through high school, and now we’re in the next generation.
"It’s nice that it’s a happy place again and going forward with the next generation and the next group of young entrepreneurs in the Clark family."
Gail Clark, Steve’s widow, owns the store and Taylore Clark is going to manage it.
"We’re just sort of doing it together," Taylore said. "We’re going to have anything that we think is cool. We’re not going to have any appliances or electronics or toys or clothes, just neat things."
The store will be open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The phone number is the same as the old pharmacy number, 447-8102.