For many fresh high school graduates, the decision of what to do for the rest of their lives … or even the immediate future … can be difficult.
But for Katlyn and Thomas Spradling, that decision was clear.
The owners of Mantachie Pharmacy were high school sweethearts, and though the couple always knew they’d stay together, their college careers took them on different paths. Katlyn Spradling had been accepted into the University of Mississippi’s early entry pharmaceutical program as a college freshman in 2010. Thomas Spradling, meanwhile, enrolled at Itawamba Community College, from 2009-2011, before moving on to Ole Miss to continue his pharmaceutical degree.
While at Ole Miss, the couple married and finished school close together. After Thomas Spradling graduated in 2016 and Katlyn Spradling in 2017, they decided to return to their hometown to begin their careers.
“Thomas knew from the time he started pharmacy school that he wanted to come back home and open a community pharmacy,” Katlyn Spradling said. “We have deep roots here, both of us, our parents are from here, our grandparents are from here, we went to school here our whole lives, it only made sense to come home and give back.”
In 2017, their dream started to become a reality. They began to renovate a building on Highway 371 formerly occupied by a restaurant. Their goal was to create a homey, old-timey place where the owners knew their customers’ names and the customers felt welcomed and appreciated.
The Spradlings opened the doors of Mantachie Pharmacy on Sept. 1, 2018, to a warm reception from the people of their hometown. The Spradlings said the love and support shown by the community has been outstanding.
Katlyn Spradling said over the months since they opened Mantachie Pharmacy, she truly believes that their efforts to achieve their goal have been shown and recognized.
“Our service is what makes us special,” she said.
Spradling said she tries to learn the name of every single customer who walks through their doors. Those she doesn’t already know, that is. Having that connection to her customers is important, she said.
“I want them to know that they aren’t just another prescription to us,” she said. “We want to get to know them.”
And with less than a year behind them, the small pharmacy has already outgrown its space and had to expand.
It’s a good problem to have. The couple recently relocated their business to a larger space, just next door to their original location.
And they’re still growing.
“We are getting new customers each week,” Katlyn Spradling said.
In what may be a first for the Spradlings, the couple is uncertain of what the future holds. The near future, at least. They’re already thinking one or two … or eight or nine … steps ahead, even talking about who will take over the business when they retire. Thomas Spradling claims it’ll be someone who cares for the community and its people as much as they do.
“We love our customers and we think they like us,” Katlyn Spradling said. “We do our best to help them with their needs and help them understand what medicines they’re taking, all while trying to save them money. Our goal is to give back.”
Sounds like a plan.