By L'Oreal Thompson
9:40 AM EST, March 2, 2012
One afternoon in 1944, a 14-year-old M. Eugene Streett strolled into Boyd and Fulford Drugs on Main Street in downtown Bel Air for a job and he never left. Years later in 1964, M. Eugene, also known as Doc Gene, and his wife, Marytherese, bought the building and the pharmacy, which has become a popular spot for residents to catch up on local news and happenings.
“We’re ‘people’ people,” says Maryterese Streett. “There are about eight drug stores between here and Route 1 on Hickory. We’re just a very different kind. We’re a professional family pharmacy.”
The pharmacy itself has existed since 1892. Back then, it was owned by Henry James Boyd and Alexander Maitland Fulford. Boyd, who was originally from the island of Tasmania, taught at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in Baltimore and Fulford was one of the original manufacturers for soda fountain syrup in the 1880s, according to Maryterese. Naturally, there was a soda fountain in their pharmacy, and it was a big hit, too.
Harford County Councilman Jim McMahan, 73, who represents the town of Bel Air, was a big fan of the hot fudge sundaes as a child and continued to visit as an adult. “As a young police officer, I remember going into the pharmacy for a cool glass of Lemon Blend in the dead of summer while working traffic on Main Street.”
Working at Boyd and Fulford was and still is important for the Streetts, who have four sons–all of whom have worked at the pharmacy at one point growing up. Today, all but one son live within four miles of mom and dad and Audrey, who is married to their youngest son, Jonathan, also works at the drug store. “Our sons grew up in this pharmacy,” says Marytherese. “It taught them a lot of responsibility.”
Timothy Ryan Streett, the couple’s second oldest son, didn’t stray too far from the pharmacy either. His law office is located down the street. ”Growing up in the pharmacy was different in that I never distinguished between work and home,” Timothy says. “We came home from school and initially we had to scrape the bubblegum off the tables and the soda fountain. We’d take out the trash, and it evolved to all sorts of things.”
Working at the pharmacy and living half a mile away from the business meant everyone knew the Streett family. “It was kind of neat to grow up knowing everybody at the time,” Timothy says. “But that made it hard because you couldn’t get away with much as a teenager.”
Even at 81, M. Eugene and Maryterese don’t show any signs of slowing down. “We work because we like it,” she says. “Our whole life has revolved around this pharmacy.” But Maryterese insists they’ll know when it’s time to close up shop.
“We’ve had our ups and downs and a lot of competition,” she says. “The best advice I’ve received is don’t retire unless you have something you really want to do. My husband really wants to run this pharmacy.”
Boyd and Fulford Drugs hasn’t changed much throughout the years. There’s no longer a soda fountain, but everything else has relatively remained the same. There are no frills inside of this pharmacy. No grocery aisle. No Redbox for DVDs. No tabloid magazines featuring the latest Hollywood scandal. Just a good ol’ fashioned Main Street drug store.
Maryterese says, “We know the people. We care about the people. We go out of our way for the people, and we keep it simple.”
Boyd and Fulford Drugs
23 South Main Street
Bel Air, MD 21014
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun