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Skillern Drug Stores

Posted by John A 
Skillern Drug Stores
December 12, 2012 02:23PM
I suspect that there are hundreds of former Skillern Drug company employees still living in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX area, but sadly, fewer with every passing year. I am a former Skillern employee (16 years counting my tenure during high school).

When I started with Skillern Drugs in 1965, I was in the 10th grade. Skillern was a successful, departmentalized drug store chain owned by the Zale corporation, whose home office was in Dallas, TX. After high school and the military, I returned to Skillern and served as store manager, then the Merchandise Manager for Aeroplex Gift Shops when the then new DFW Airport opened (Aeroplex was a division of Skillern),
and finally serving as District Sales Manager for Skillern (initially for the San Antonio District, and later in Ft. Worth, TX District).

After the Zale Corporation sold Skillern to REVCO (about 1980 or so), I remained with REVCO for about one year, but left to go to college. After graduation, I then transitioned into a 25 year career within the US pharmaceuticals industry. I retired earlier this year. Best wishes to my former Skillern and Zale friends and colleagues!

John
Re: Skillern Drug Stores
December 13, 2012 12:53PM
I sure remember Skillern, or Skillerns as they were usually called. My Dad worked most of his adult life for McKesson & Robbins in the drug division, starting out in Dallas and promoted along the way to San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Abilene before finishing up at the regional office in Arlington in the mid-70s.

McK did business with Skillern, but chiefly they supplied small, single proprietor drug stores since larger chains like Skillern did a lot of their own bulk buying and warehousing. He really hated the chains, especially the Rexall pharmacies who pretty much shut McK out of their supply chain.

Good old memories of a very different time.

Mike
Re: Skillern Drug Stores
December 13, 2012 02:47PM
John A Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I suspect that there are hundreds of former
> Skillern Drug company employees still living in
> the Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX area, but sadly, fewer
> with every passing year. I am a former Skillern
> employee (16 years counting my tenure during high
> school).
>
> When I started with Skillern Drugs in 1965, I was
> in the 10th grade. Skillern was a successful,
> departmentalized drug store chain owned by the
> Zale corporation, whose home office was in Dallas,
> TX. After high school and the military, I
> returned to Skillern and served as store manager,
> then the Merchandise Manager for Aeroplex Gift
> Shops when the then new DFW Airport opened
> (Aeroplex was a division of Skillern),
> and finally serving as District Sales Manager for
> Skillern (initially for the San Antonio District,
> and later in Ft. Worth, TX District).
>
> After the Zale Corporation sold Skillern to REVCO
> (about 1980 or so), I remained with REVCO for
> about one year, but left to go to college. After
> graduation, I then transitioned into a 25 year
> career within the US pharmaceuticals industry. I
> retired earlier this year. Best wishes to my
> former Skillern and Zale friends and colleagues!
>
> John

I never worked for Skillern's, but ate at the Skillern's in Wynnewood quite often when I worked for Abbott Shoe Store in Wynnewood in the early sixties while attending Kimball H.S. I also bought school supplies there occasionally. It was one of the stores that offered a malted or other counter treat for anyone spending in excess of some dollar figure on school supplies back in the day. Page's did the same thing. My wife worked at the Page's store on Camp Wisdom Road and also the one in Westmoreland Heights her senior year at Kimball.

Dave McNeely
Mac
Re: Skillern Drug Stores
December 13, 2012 05:03PM
I remember the Skillern's in Wynnewood because they had certain issues of DC comics.

I think there was a Skillerns in the Lancaster/Kiest shopping mall. They had chrome railings where you lined up to get your prescriptions.

There was a Skillerns in the the Southern Oaks shopping center at Illinois and Overton Road??

Red Oak Kid

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Re: Skillern Drug Stores
December 17, 2012 01:17PM
Dave,

Skillern called them Big Shakes, they were a mix of ice cream and milk; similar to a malt, but without the malt powder. Skillern's shoppers received one Big Shake ticket for every $1.00 spent on school supplies. Skillern continued the practice until the early 1970s - when fewer and fewer new and/or remodeled stores opened with soda fountains (a result of the then changing times, where fast food restaurants like 'Jack in the Box', and later, 'McDonalds' began appearing across the Texas and national landscapes). The need for soda fountains began to diminish, and the Big Shake naturally disappeared with along with the soda fountain. For a very short period, Skillern gave away a pint of ice cream in place of the Big Shake ticket in those stores that lacked a soda fountain, but the ice cream just did not hold the same draw with the shoppers as did the historic Big Shake.

I guess I must have made thousands of Big Shakes while I was in high school! In the weeks leading up to back- to-school in the late 1960's, our Skillern manager, JC Rae, would have us make up hundreds of Big Shake cups (with everything but the milk added) and place them in our freezers so that when the back- to-school onslaught hit us, we could make the Big Shakes fast and furious - because the crowds were enormous during the back to school shopping period, as well as in the weeks immediately following the start of back-to-school. Good days - now long gone by!

Wal-Mart owns the lion's share of the back-to-school supply business of today. From my perspective, Wal-Mart is Skillern on steroids. Both were/are departmentalized retailers. Both were discount retail outlets. Wal-Mart offers everyday low prices, where Skillern very heavily discounted product in their major weekly newspaper advertisements. Similar, yet different! The major two differences I see in retail of today versus yesteryear are in the areas of service and in-store merchandising. Regardless of the retailer, customer service appears to be lacking today (certainly exchanged for a stronger bottom line). In-store merchandising was once an art within itself (i.e., numerous unique seasonal displays), but today appears largely to be a lost art. These are just a few of the changes that we have seen occur over time Some changes have been for the good, while others were, in my opinion, not necessarily for the best.

Best Regards,

John
Re: Skillern Drug Stores
February 20, 2013 12:46AM
I grew up near a Skillerns on Greenville and Martel. We bought our school suplies there and had free Big Shakes!
Re: Skillern Drug Stores
August 05, 2013 01:05PM
I am desperately searching for information on 2 specific people that 1 or both worked at Skillerns..

The time frame is going to be around 1966-1968… There was a lady by the name of Jean (spelling?) and worked in the cosmetic department,
with a lady named Francis .

Jean (Last name presumed to be Mills) had a son I believe to be named Dennis (Last name presumed to be Mills), possibly worked there as well..
“Dennis” would have been around or in his 20’s.

I trying to locate any information or whereabouts on Jean and/or Dennis… in an attempt to locate a son (Dennis) had. It is thought that Dennis' family may have adopted the baby that is my husband’s half brother.
My husband is 47, and the baby was born in Plano around 1967 or 68.

Any information you may have, that you can remember.. would be appreciated. Don’t let any small details deter you,, they may be HUGE clues for us in locating them.

With greatest sincerity and appreciation,



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/05/2013 01:25PM by curious1.
Re: Skillern Drug Stores
August 05, 2013 03:03PM
Skillern had around 135 or so stores in Texas. My guess would be in the neighborhood of 75 or so in the general DFW area. I only mention this because it might help if you were to list in your communications the location of the Skillern store you are referencing. Just a thought!

For example, I was with Skillern during the time frame you mention (I was in high school). The store I worked in (#6035) was located in the shopping center between Webbs Chapel, Northwest Hwy and Marsh Lane. I do recall a Frances that worked in that store, sometimes in the Cosmetic department, sometimes in other departments. She was single, and I'd guess her to have been in mid 50's or so at that time. That would place her in her in her mid-90's or so today. Sadly, I doubt she is still with us. She was a very sweet lady. Her boyfriend was a security guard.

I don't recall a Jean, but that was a long, long time ago, so I could be wrong and may have simply forgotten about a lady named Jean. I don't recall one of the ladies with a son named Dennis either. I knew several of the children of the ladies that worked at that store, but likely not all of them. Sorry I could not be of more assistance. Best wishes in your efforts to find the person you are seeking!
Re: Skillern Drug Stores
August 05, 2013 05:50PM
Thank you! Yes the store I am speaking of is in Garland, off Garland Road. If anyone else has any recollection of these people, I would appreciate anything you can provide!

M
Re: Skillern Drug Stores
August 07, 2013 11:38AM
The Skillern's I was most familiar with was the one on the corner of Clarendon and Hampton in Oak Cliff, it has been Midway Auto Supply for well over 50 years now.......was more or less across the street from the old Sunset Theatre...........There was a Grocery store a few door down from it and also a Tavern....think it was called the Hangman's Club, a pretty tough place when Oak Cliff was wet......Bill Strouse
Re: Skillern Drug Stores
August 07, 2013 12:52PM
I never knew that that Midway used to be a Skillern's. I grew up right around the corner (on Franklin, between Clarendon and Burlington). I just barely remember a gas station where the 7/11 is now, and an Icee Cola stand another block east on Clarendon (near Aunt Stella's).

Hampton and Clarendon must've been an interesting intersection back in the day.

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Re: Skillern Drug Stores
August 07, 2013 01:16PM
Yes it was - there was a tree in the middle of Hampton before it was widened.

Wayne
Re: Skillern Drug Stores
August 07, 2013 03:38PM
I graduated from Kimball H.S. in 1963. The Skillern's was still there at that time, and IIRC, for at least a year or two after. But, fifty years is a long time. Either of us might not recall correctly.

Dave McNeely
Re: Skillern Drug Stores
August 08, 2013 10:40AM
WStewart, Yes, that corner was very interesting back in the 40 and 50's and into the 60's, was lots of things to do in the general area, I went to the Sunset Theatre quite a bit......was plenty of kids shows shown there..........You do not remember Jackie Calvin or Mickey Wolens, do you, they lived in the same general area you did, both went to Lida Hooe with me....was probably before your time.......Bill Strouse
Re: Skillern Drug Stores
August 08, 2013 02:00PM
Bill, those names don't ring a bell, so yeah, I guess they were a little before me.

It must have been nice to have had a movie theater right around the corner, instead of a lumbar yard (I always thought that place had a funny looking facade...I used to call it the Alamo when I was a kid.

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Re: Skillern Drug Stores
August 08, 2013 02:51PM
It was Alsup Garage for many years before it was part of the lumber yard.

Wayne
bob
Re: Skillern Drug Stores
August 20, 2013 08:31PM
Bill Strouse Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The Skillern's I was most familiar with was the
> one on the corner of Clarendon and Hampton in Oak
> Cliff, it has been Midway Auto Supply for well
> over 50 years now.......was more or less across
> the street from the old Sunset
> Theatre...........There was a Grocery store a few
> door down from it and also a Tavern....think it
> was called the Hangman's Club, a pretty tough
> place when Oak Cliff was wet......Bill Strouse

Bill, this is very good info. I did not know either that there was a Skillern's before Midway Auto. We moved from Windomere St. to Emmett St. in 1966. I always shopped at Midway. Seems like the owner's son was named Martin. Seems like at that time, there was a Skillern's at Clarendon and Westmoreland, and a Cabell's where the Jack In The Box is located on the northeast corner.
Re: Skillern Drug Stores
August 21, 2013 08:54AM
bob Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Bill Strouse Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > The Skillern's I was most familiar with was the
> > one on the corner of Clarendon and Hampton in
> Oak
> > Cliff, it has been Midway Auto Supply for well
> > over 50 years now.......was more or less across
> > the street from the old Sunset
> > Theatre...........There was a Grocery store a
> few
> > door down from it and also a Tavern....think it
> > was called the Hangman's Club, a pretty tough
> > place when Oak Cliff was wet......Bill Strouse
>
> Bill, this is very good info. I did not know
> either that there was a Skillern's before Midway
> Auto. We moved from Windomere St. to Emmett St. in
> 1966. I always shopped at Midway. Seems like the
> owner's son was named Martin. Seems like at that
> time, there was a Skillern's at Clarendon and
> Westmoreland, and a Cabell's where the Jack In The
> Box is located on the northeast corner.

There was a Skillern's on Westmoreland at or near Clarendon, east side of the street. Skiller's probably concluded it did not need two stores so close to one another. There also was a Skillern's in Wynnewood, and one in "downtown Oak Cliff" on Jefferson as well IIRC. Probably others in Oak Cliff at locations I seldom ventured to, like S. Marsalis or other SE Oak Cliff spots. Was there one in the Steven's Park Shopping Center?

Dave McNeely
bob
Re: Skillern Drug Stores
August 21, 2013 09:10PM
Dave, I remember a drug store at Hampton and Ft Worth Ave. It had curved glass blocks. I can't recall the name.
bob
Re: Skillern Drug Stores
August 21, 2013 09:11PM
Dave, I remember a drug store at Hampton and Ft Worth Ave. It had curved glass blocks. I can't recall the name.
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