Guerin’s Pharmacy – a Piece of Summerville’s History

Guerins Pharmacy

Guest Blog Post by Patricia Sturbaum

Guerin’s Pharmacy on Hutchinson Square is an excellent example of warm, southern hospitality.  Guerin’s is the oldest operating pharmacy in South Carolina.  It was established in 1871 and since 1876 there has only been two families who owned the business, the Guerin’s and the Dunnings.  Two generations of Guerins, Dr. Henry C Guerin (who purchased the pharmacy) and Dr. Joseph Guerin (his son) were the pharmacists / owners for many years.  Dr. Herbert Dunning worked at the pharmacy and then purchased it.  Dr. Joseph Dunning, a nephew, worked at the pharmacy starting at the age of twelve delivering packages.  He purchased the business from his uncle’s estate in 1977.  Dr. Barbara Dunning, a daughter and the current owner / pharmacist in charge, took over the business when her father passed away in September 2014.

Guerins Pharmacy

Who Makes Guerin’s Special

Dr. Barbara Dunning did not decide to attend Pharmacy School until after she got her undergraduate degree.  She didn’t tell her father of her plans until she knew she was accepted into the MUSC School of Pharmacy.  She is the third generation to graduate from MUSC and there is a total of five from her family to get their PharmD degrees from MUSC.

Peggy, who greets you in the back by the pharmacy has been working at Guerin’s for over thirty years.  Her infectious smile and pleasant personality make you feel welcomed and that you are a valued friend.  Teenagers man the soda fountain where you can get milkshakes, ice cream, and hot dogs.

Before Rawlings School of the Arts moved to its new location, it was common to see backpacks in front of Guerin’s after school.  They would stop in for ice cream or other available snacks and play in the park.  It is still a common sight to see Moms bring in young children for an ice cream treat.  Yes, Guerin’s Pharmacy is a blessing to our community.

Guerin’s Historical Significance

The Pharmacy was recognized by The Summerville Historical Society in 2017 and presented a Historical Plaque that is located outside the pharmacy next to the building on Richardson St.  To clear up the confusion, 1823 is not the year the pharmacy opened.  18 is the number of the county and 23 is the plaque number.

Do stop in to see this amazing piece of history and say Hi to Dr. Dunning, Peggy and the rest of the staff.  Check out their website here.  And while downtown, be sure to check out the bird sculptures.   Here’s some info.