Ben Franklin Apothecary
Erika Browning, April 16, 2020
Photo Credit: Erika Browning
“I don't think most people realize it’s been here for 53 years. People come and go in our town, people are always moving in and out. Many don't realize Ben Franklin has such a rich history in the community.” ~Kasey Cheshier
The second oldest business in Duncanville, Ben Franklin Apothecary is an iconic establishment in the heart of town. Back in 1964, Duncanville’s Ben Franklin had no pharmacy or deli; it was just a five & dime general store. They sold trinkets, basic necessities, candies, Over the years, they’ve adjusted to changing shopping patterns, offering fresh, unique, trendy items and continue to evolve and change in order to stay relevant and serve the community.
Wes Jesperson was the original owner back in 1964. At that time it wasn't a big store. He saw the need for a general five & dime type store in Duncanville and made it happen. Ben Franklin was a franchise at that time, so he invested in opening this shop. Wes didn't like the direction of the company, and being a "his way or the highway" kind of guy, he paid a nominal fee and began doing things internally in the early 70's. That turned out to be a good thing because Ben Franklin was bought out and eventually all the stores were shut down in the 80's. These days the five & dime concept is nostalgic. The store in Duncanville is the last Ben Franklin five & dime in the state, and people come from all over just to come to an old Ben Franklin.
The historic shop sells general merchandise as well as being a boutique shop, with popular decor and trendy items. They have a lot of items that are new to the market in certain departments. The pharmacy is the smallest section, but is really the engine of the shop. In addition to basic over-the-counter medicines and supplies, they sell durable medical equipment and an array of diabetic products. A unique feature of the pharmacy is the compounding lab where medications can be mixed based on specific needs ordered by the doctor. The prescription services include one-on-one individualized patient care which isn’t usually found in a chain drug store.
At the back of the store, Kitchen’s deli and old fashioned soda fountain is almost an establishment all it's own and adds to the nostalgic feel. The deli offers a variety of sandwiches, ice cream, and homemade pies. Another popular section of the store is a quilting center with fabric and sewing supplies. They offer classes and have open sewing times. People come from all over the region to spend the day sewing, have lunch at the deli and make a trip out of it. And of course the candy counter features homemade fudge which is always popular.
The hours at Ben Franklin have changed somewhat during the current restrictions on businesses, but they are open and offer Rx delivery. Kitchen’s Deli offers pick-up or delivery for phoned in orders.
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM M-F,
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Sat
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Mon-Sat