Ringgold, Georgia, resident opens 'throwback pharmacy' with coffee and ice cream counter

Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Magnolia Pharmacy is located at 4626 Battlefield Parkway in Ringgold.

After 14 years working as a pharmacist for a chain retailer, Ringgold resident Dustin Beard is opening his own independent pharmacy.

Located in Ringgold, Magnolia Pharmacy is a joint venture between Beard and Paul Bryant, who also owns three pharmacies in Beard's native Chatsworth as well as one in Calhoun and one in Dalton.

Beard worked in independent pharmacies before going to pharmacy school, and said he jumped at the opportunity to return to that side of the industry because it allows him to have more face-to-face interactions and get to know his customers on a personal level.

"It's a lot different than big chain retail pharmacies, where metrics are looked at as probably more important or just as important as your customers," Beard said.

He describes the business, which opened in late February, as a modern version of "a throwback pharmacy with a diner vibe," featuring a coffee shop and an old-fashioned ice cream counter serving up Mayfield ice cream.