Dr. Todd Garrett, owner of the recently opened Franklin Family Pharmacy, has fond memories as a young boy in the 1990s walking into Cowart Drug Co., a pharmacy in Calera, Alabama.
In business since 1920 and located in an 1880s building that’s on the National Register of Historic Places, Cowart was run by a friend of Garrett’s family, then owner Teresa Harris. Anytime the Garretts traveled 25 minutes south from their home in Hoover to Calera, they would stop in to say hello.
Garrett, 29, remembers being greeted with a warm and inviting smile by Harris every time he walked into the store.
“Her face would always light up when she saw us,” Garrett said.
He was inspired to pursue pharmacy because of Harris, describing her as “almost like a second mom.”
Harris helped people in any way she could by charging reasonable prices and offering free home delivery services to her customers, Garrett explained.
“She was just a light in the community, and I loved that,” he said.
The virtue has stuck with Garrett throughout many years, and also helped Harris’ business flourish and succeed simply by word of mouth around Calera.
“She just took care of people and the money would follow,” Garrett said. “Pharmacy was the medium through which she did that.”
Garrett’s childhood roots in Hoover revolved around being outdoors with his two older brothers, playing a variety of sports and attending church. Hoover is known for its love of football and being a close-knit community, Garrett said.
He gives plenty of credit to his parents, Wayne and Vi Garrett, for giving up so much to help him and his brothers succeed.
“There are no two people that I look up to more than my parents,” Garrett said. “They just always made sacrifices for us and did everything they could to give us a strong platform to launch from.”
His strong understanding of math and science in grade school propelled him even further to consider a career in the medical field, with his Christian faith guiding him every step of the way.
When Garrett started college at Lipscomb University, he was determined to achieve an undergraduate degree in pre-pharmacy.
With plenty of courses geared toward biology and chemistry, Garrett admitted, “it was very hard coursework,” but he enjoyed the journey.
During Garrett’s sophomore year at Lipscomb, he received encouraging news that the school was going to start a pharmacy school, and in 2010 was accepted into the program.
“It seemed like everything just kind of funneled down to the profession of pharmacy,” Garrett said.
Throughout Garrett’s college experience, opportunities to serve others in foreign counties using his medical knowledge emerged.
One of the several medical mission trips Garrett set out on included traveling to Guatemala in the spring of 2013, but the trip stood out in his mind for a very special reason.
Garrett did a variety of outreach work, including making daily hiking trips into remote mountain villages to assist fellow medical colleagues in any way he could.
At some of the medical clinics in Guatemala, Garrett saw firsthand the miraculous impact medical care was having on others.
“People that were blind could see. Those with knee problems could walk again,” he described.
Garrett recalled “how thankful the people were,” and the “big heart” of the mission team.
The humbling experience also brought two people together.
Garrett met his best friend and wife, Chaslynn Garrett, on the 2013 mission trip. They were not dating at the time, just friends, but a couple of months later their paths crossed again at church, and led to them tying the knot in 2014.
After Garrett completed his coursework to become a pharmacist, he spent time working at larger, corporate-owned pharmacies around Middle Tennessee and a short stint in Charleston, South Carolina.
The biggest takeaways for Garrett were more than just career experience. He developed leadership principles that he applied to his own store in Franklin.
“I try to look out for people as much as I can,” Garrett said. “If you invest in them, oftentimes they will invest back into you.”
Life had started to change a little for Garrett when his daughter Haven was born in 2016. Now, the 16-month-old “wants to experience everything life has to offer,” according to Garrett.
From playing hide-and-go-seek to running a 5K with his wife, “family is my biggest hobby,” Garrett said.
The small-town pharmacy back in Alabama left a lasting impression on Garrett. With the guidance of many mentors along the way, he made his dream of opening a pharmacy a reality just last month in Franklin.
“We have always wanted to be in Franklin,” Garrett said. “We just love the community.”
The idea of offering reasonable prices and free home delivery were several elements Garrett envisioned when he opened the doors to Franklin Family Pharmacy on Downs Boulevard. The pharmacy even offers free delivery.
“We exist to serve those around us, and help everybody live the healthiest life possible,” Garrett said.
In addition to filling prescriptions, Garrett offers a selection of “natural approach” products, with physician approval, for customers who want to get off medication and try homeopathic or home remedies instead.
“For a headache, try sniffing peppermint essential oil,” Garrett said. “If you have a sore throat, try hot tea with honey.”
The profound statement of “being a light in the community” was one virtue instilled in Garrett from a young age and taught by the example of Harris.
“We want to be a light in this community, because we think this is an amazing community,” Garrett said.