Kiefer’s Pharmacy, Dade City, Florida


Kiefer’s Pharmacy

Dade City to Honor Pharmacy Owner for 40 Years of Memories (1993)

This article appeared in the Tampa Tribune on Sept. 12, 1993. Thanks Madonna Wise for the article.


DADE CITY – In the annals of downtown history, Kiefer’s Pharmacy will be remembered as the gathering place.

For nearly 30 years, customers bellied up to the fountain counter for nickel cups of coffee. The working class took morning and afternoon breaks there, while youngsters made regular after-school pit stops for specialty sodas.

“The vanilla Cokes were my favorite,” recalls Scott Black, a city commissioner who moved to Dade City when he was in the first grade. “I remember going in with a friend whose dad had an account there and we’d charge our sodas to his account.”

Gail Hamilton, a Dade City native who now heads Downtown Main Street, was addicted to the tuna sandwiches made by Marie Hayes, who ran the fountain until it closed in 1982.

“The fountain was the place to go, it was truly the hub of downtown,” Hamilton says.

Eleven years after Al Kiefer Sr. pulled the fountain from its spot in the center of the store, the pharmacy is still going strong – even if its owner is ready to forgo business for yard work and fishing.

Kiefer, who opened the pharmacy Sept. 1, 1953, at the corner of Pasco Avenue and U.S. 301, says he’s been ready to hand over the keys for a number of years. He just hasn’t been able to find anyone willing to keep the business where it’s been for 40 years.

“I want someone who will maintain the store right here,” says Kiefer, 74. “Downtown needs it here.”

There was a time when some didn’t share the same opinion. Kiefer was turned down upon his first attempt for a business loan because the banker thought there were already too many drugstores downtown. There were three others at the time, all located within two city blocks of each other, Kiefer recalls.

Kiefer and his wife, Margaret, are natives of east Pasco. A 1939 graduate of Notre Dame, Kiefer obtained his first pharmacist license in Michigan. After serving in the U.S. Navy from 1942-45, Kiefer went back to Michigan for a year to get his master’s degree.

But he quit after six months to return to Florida. The pharmacist for Walgreens, at that time located on Meridian Avenue across from the Centennial Building, died and Kiefer was asked to help out.

He stayed there until 1953, when he became the first tenant of the building he eventually bought in 1972. The Kiefers opened a sporting goods store in 1962 and a jewelry store in 1972.

The city commission passed a special proclamation last week honoring Kiefer for his long tenure, and the Chamber of Commerce plans on honoring the family Sept. 21.

Throughout the years, eight of Kiefer’s employees have become licensed pharmacists – including his two sons, Al Jr. and Joe, who were licensed on the same day in 1972. Joe Kiefer died six years ago. Al Kiefer Jr. now runs the sporting goods store.

High on the wall overlooking the platform area where Kiefer dispenses medication are narrow shelves that hold his collection of antique apothecary jars. He bought a collection of 447 jars, with ground glass stoppers, in the 1960s from a Puerto Rican drug store that Kiefer says had been in business for some 200 years.

His walls also hold the spoils of Kiefer family hunting trips – mounted deer and moose heads, among other stuffed trophies.

In the elegant confines of the family jewelry store, Margaret Kiefer speaks with pride while recounting her husband’s successful business venture. But she knows he’s ready to wrap it up and can only hope the end comes soon.

“He wants to do a lot of fishing. The minute he gets home at night, he’s down on the lake casting away,” she says, with a soft chuckle. “He’s just tired now and wants to get out. But we’re still here.”


From Pasco News, Sept. 11, 1987.

ALBERT JOSEPH “JOE” Kiefer, 38 of San Antonio, Florida, died Tuesday evening on September 8, 1987, after suffering from cancer. He was born on March 10, 1948 in Tampa, Florida. He was a pharmacist for Kiefer’s Pharmacy in Dade City, Florida. He was an auxiliary officer for the Saint Leo Police Department. He also was a Florida registered emergency medical technician and a member of the Dade City and Zephyrhills Rescue Squad. He was on the Board of Directors of the Dade City Main Street Association and the San Antonio Citizen’s Credit Union. He was a member and past president of the Dade city Kiwanis Club and also held membership in the following organizations: Dade City Downtown Merchant’s Association, Florida Pharmaceutical Association, University of Florida Ski Team and SKI Sophrenics. He was a PADI certified diving instructor. He received his degree in pharmacy from the University of Florida in Gainesville in 1971, and he also graduated from St. Anthony’s School in San Antonio, Florida. Kiefer is survived by his wife, Ruth Ann Kiefer; one son, Adam Joseph; one daughter, Jennifer Chevonne; his parents, Margaret and Al Kiefer, Sr. and one brother, Al Kiefer, Jr. all of San Antonio; and one sister, pam Abraham of Dade City. A Requiem Mass for the Repose of His Soul will be said at 10:00 a.m. today, September 11, with the Father Lee Schlosser officiating at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in San Antonio. Interment will follow in Gardens of Memories in San Antonio. Visitation took place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at Oakley Funeral Home. A Rosary Service with Father Schlosser officiating will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Anthony’s School or the Hardy Benevolent Trust Fund. Arrangements are being handled by Oakley Funeral Home of Dade City.

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