Corinthian Clippings from
Feb. 24, 1984 (written by George Poague)
CONTINUING A FAMILY
RIENZI-Here in the tiny
town of Rienzi, where the old buildings on Main Street are
so unchanged a first time visitor might conclude he has
stumbled into a time warp and been hurled into the past,
Noble Williams is continuing a family tradition.
Williams is owner of
Smith Drugs, the only drug store in Rienzi. The store was
run for 50 years by his uncle, the late Truman Smith, who
became something of a local legend.
If the outside of the
drugstore is 1914, the inside is definitely 1984. The
visitor who expects the dark, musty interior of an old
building is in for a surprise. The inside of Smith Drugs is
completely modern-as modern as any drug store in Corinth (or
Tupelo or Memphis for that matter).
“We’ve done some
remodeling, but we’ve tried to leave some of it like it
was,” said Williams. “We’ve kept the ceiling fans, for
Williams is not sure how
long the drug store has stood. He only knows it has been
there since the early 1900s and has served Rienzi for almost
“My desire is to carry on
what Truman Smith started,” said Williams. “I have no
intention of changing the store’s name. Smith Drugs is a
part of life here, even with the young people.
“I was raised here and
grew up in the drugstore. My uncle was very instrumental in
my life. His love for people and concern for the sick had a
great deal of influence on me.”
admitted he did not like the drugstore business as a
teenager or as a young adult. He worked several years for
the Postal Service after graduation from high school.
“I came to like the
business later,” he said, “and I always leaned into going
into business for myself.”
When Truman Smith retired
several years ago the store was bought by Don Kitchens.
Kitchens later bought Wilson’s Drugs in Corinth and sold the
store to Williams.
“We have had a successful
five years, even during the Recession,” he said. “I
attribute it to good luck, hard work and good employees---I
probably picked some things up from my uncle when I was
Smith Drugs has five
employees including two licensed pharmacists.
Williams said his work at
the drug store leaves him little time for hobbies or outside
interests. “My nose stays to the grindstone.”
“We have had to modernize
some to keep pace with the times, but we’re trying to
continue the old tradition of caring for our customers,”
At least one old
tradition has certainly been retained: how many drug stores
have you been in lately that served hand-dipped ice cream?