Holihan Drugs celebrates 30 years in Evart

EVART — It takes a lot for a family-owned business in a small town to keep running successfully, but Alan and Sharon Bengry, owners of Holihan Drugs in Evart, are celebrating the store's 30th anniversary.

"It's exciting," Alan said. "It seems like it went by extremely fast."

Though the business began in 1937 under Norman Weess, the store original was destroyed by a fire. Wade’s Pharmacy opened in 1938 under Russ Wade and he ran the business until 1961, when Holihan Drugs was established by the late Bob Holihan. Alan worked for Holihan for about five years after high school while earning his degree in pharmacy from Ferris State University, and in 1984, he and Sharon purchased the business, opened it up into two storefronts and decided to keep its previous name.

"The name was well established and it had a good reputation, so we thought the less change the better," Alan said.

With help from his father, Alan became familiar with the business world. Holihan's became something of a family affair, as many of Alan's relatives have been employees or still work behind the counter.

Through the years, Alan credits the success of Holihan Drugs to the individuals who fill their prescriptions and shop for the gift needs at the store on a regular basis.

"Our customer base has been loyal for us," he said. "We need to thank the community for what they've done. It's not just about me and my family, it's about the community."

It's not only the customers themselves, but the relationship built with each one throughout the course of the business' lifetime. The people are what help keep the Bengrys loving what they do and they believe being involved in other parts of Evart's society is important.

"It's nice to be able to reflect and talk to parents and remember when their parents came in," Alan said. "It's also nice to see them and talk about the future."

Going forward, Alan is unsure about the next 30 years, but has high hopes.

"I'd like to think it could be passed on to someone who is ambitious and who wants to run the business," he said. "You have to put in time and you have to care."

Although owning a business is hard work and at times stressful, Alan said it's worth it if taken seriously.

"It has to be something that you love to do," he added. "Treating your business like it's a hobby doesn't work. It's a level of commitment if you really want to be successful and around for a long time."