One of the businesses that have been at the center of downtown improvements is Bruner Pharmacy, located at 321 E. Broadway. Bruner's will be celebrating its 50th anniversary from 8:30 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19.
The history of Bruner Pharmacy in Monett began when a new businessman, Gayle Bruner, became the new owner of the Corner Pharmacy in October 1962.
Bruner came to Monett from Webb City where he operated Bruner Pharmacy with his brother. Bruner assumed ownership and management of the store in Monett from Ray Davis. They immediately moved the business next door into the Campbell building. During these years, Rogers Tasty Bake Shop occupied the corner location. Bruner moved to Monett with his wife, Harriett and three children, John, Gayle Lynn and Diana. After moving to Monett, the Bruners added one more addition to the family, a daughter, Lisa.
In 1968, Roger's Tasty Bake Shop discontinued business and Wayne Prewitt, of West Plains, purchased the Campbell and Fitzgerald buildings. He had the wall between the two buildings removed and the buildings became one. After extensive remodeling, Bruner Pharmacy became the occupant of this building in the spring of 1969. The face of the building featured 50 feet of glass show windows. Inside, the business added a large gift department, which included Hallmark Greeting Cards and enlarged the cosmetic department.
In October 1984, Bruner's daughter, Gayle Lynn, became a partner in the business. She graduated from the Kansas City School of Pharmacy. In September 1990, John Bruner joined in the partnership. He graduated from St. Louis School of Pharmacy. John and his wife, Agnes, have two children, Jaclyn and Michael.
In 1992, expansion continued by adding the Bridal Registry. Throughout the years, Bruner's continued to add to the gift line.
Gayle semi-retired in 1998. He continues to carry his pharmaceutical license to step in whenever needed at the store.
"I loved to work," said Gayle. "I couldn't stay out of the store."
The store has experienced so much growth that the hiring of another pharmacist became a necessity. A.J. Bahl was hired in 2003 and came to Monett from St. Genevieve.
Bruner Pharmacy is currently undergoing expansion again with the purchase of the former Front Page building. This building will house the Hallmark section of the store and will also offer public restrooms. The total square footage of both buildings will total approximately 10,000 square feet.
"We need more elbow room," said John Bruner. "We will be putting in a compounding room, private consultation areas and a drive-through window."
The compounding area will be windowed so customers can view the process. There will also be an expansion in health and beauty aids and durable medical equipment.
"We have been blessed to be a part of such a great community for 50 years," said John. "Over the past few years it has been constructive working with city leaders to develop our ideas for growing our offerings downtown. Their allowing us to develop our business, as well as my customer base, was a strong influence for allowing us to stay downtown.
"It all fell into place. We feel that with all of this, and what the Chamber of Commerce has done with the storefront improvements, that the downtown will continue to grow and flourish."