The Leona Drug Store is now under the care of Don and Paula House. Of course that means ownership, but ownership nowhere near describes the longstanding relationship between Don, the Drug Store and the quaint town of Leona.
Don’s connection to the town harkens back to his grandfather who had a farm about four miles west of Leona. As a kid Don remembers riding passed it and his dad would tell stories of coming into the Drug Store when he was a boy. Don fondly remembers he and his cousin Jerry House, who now has the Leona General Store Steak House next door, listening to stories of their fathers growing up on the farm and how they used to come into town on wagons on Saturdays. They would have a nickel apiece to spend in town and they headed directly to the Drug Store.
As the many years passed time took its toll on the Drug Store. In the late 90’s the structure was dilapidated and in disrepair. That’s when Don sort of eased into the Drug Store business. Jerry found the General Store was up for sale and bought it and turned it into a steak house. Jerry kept after Don to buy the Drug Store and save it. Don hated to see the building in disrepair. His original interest was not so much to have a running drug store as it was to save it and preserve the building because it was going to be lost. Once it was restored he thought, “We might as well sell ice cream,” and it grew from there.
Originally the Thompson Drug Store the present building was rebuilt in 1922 after a downtown fire destroyed most of the buildings in the area. Don bought the Drug Store in 2008 and its most current restoration was underway, with the same look and layout as existed in the 1920s. All drinks are served from the soda fountain—no bottled drinks. Fountain recipes come from old drug store publications. Gifts include candles, coffee, cook books, Texas history books, old crank telephones, cards, etc. It sits next door to the Leona General Store which are connected with a working crank telephone. The Drug Store serves everything that would have been served in the 1920s, including shakes, malts, phosphates, floats, banana splits, hot fudge, limeades, and sodas—all mixed as in the 1920s. Just the way it was done back in Don’s dad’s day.