Tourism » Vandalia Drug – Home of an old-fashioned soda fountain and nickel cup of coffee

Outside of Vandalia Drug on Main St. in Vandalia.

While remaining current with modern computer systems and cutting-edge technology, Vandalia Drug continues to offer the traditions of the past that makes the pharmacy one of the most unique in the country,
Vandalia Drug stills operates an old-fashioned soda fountain and is still the “Home of the Nickel Cup of Coffee.” Customers can purchase coffee with their famous wooden nickel while enjoying time with the many Vandalia area residents who gather at  their pharmacy every morning.
The location includes also includes a selection of greeting cards, gift shop, souvenir T-Shirts, full-service pharmacy, and cigars for sale.
The pharmacy has been owned and operated by Joe and Debbie Salois since the mid-1990s.
History of the pharmacies in Vandalia
According to the Vandalia Area Historical Society’s history book, the history of pharmacies in Vandalia dates back to about 1870 when Dr. J.M. Riley established the Vandalia Drugstore.
The modern roots begin in 1946 when Vernie Weiser and Bernard Wilson bought the O.G. Wilson store.
After Vernie bought the store from Wilson, he renamed it Weiser Drugs.
Down the street from the Weiser Drugs location in 1953, Hal and Shirley Clinton purchased the Ellis Brothers Drugstore and renamed it Clinton Drug.
After John Fitzgerald bought Weiser Drugs in 1972, he merged the pharmacy with Hal Clinton to become Vandalia Drug and the storied history of the pharmaceutical industry in Vandalia came full circle as two of the oldest business in town became the only pharmacy left in town.
It was then the two hired a young Joe Salois from Bowling Green who at the time was working his way through the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.
Salois worked for three summers and during one summer he met Debbie Syler who was working behind the soda fountain.
During his final weeks in the store Joe was asked by Fitzgerald and Clinton that if he ever wanted to buy the store in the future, that he should go and talk to them.
While the move wasn’t a part of the couple’s immediate plans, it proved to be a big part of their future. The couple married in 1980 and 15 years later they bought Vandalia Drug.

Vandalia Drug owner Joe Salois

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