Celebrating a Champion: Beloved Memphis pharmacist turns 90

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s rare to find a family-run drug store where everyone knows your name and your family.

Champion’s Pharmacy and Herb Store has been in South Memphis for three decades and this week, the owner Dr. Charles Champion is celebrating his 90th birthday.

His vision isn’t what it used to be, but his mind is still sharp.

Dr. Champion has been a pharmacist for more than 60 years. He and his wife opened Champion’s Pharmacy and Herb Store and they’re been in South Memphis since 1991.

“I always felt good, felt good about my giving back, giving back to the community,” said Champion.

Dr. Champion turned 90 years old on Thursday, August 20 and it’s a milestone that’s just as impressive as his legacy in Memphis.

He was the first African American pharmacist to work at John Gaston Hospital and then he worked at Katz Drug Store where he become the first African American pharmacist hired by a major drug store chain in the city. Dr. Champion also spent time as a pharmacist in Germany during a two-year tour of duty with the United States Army.

But Champion’s family says his biggest accomplishments aren’t in the history books.

“He really, really cares about his patients, he cares about their wellbeing and we have been able to service generations so now we have great-grandkids that are coming in that may have not daddy from years ago so to know we are still serving the community is a huge, huge blessing for us,” said his daughter Dr. Carol L. Champion.

Champion’s two daughters are also pharmacists and they carry on the family business.

They say their father’s formula for success is simple.

“You come in with an issue, tell us about it, and we go back and we mix up according to your needs so our custom personalized care has really worked to help the community,” said Dr. Carol L. Champion.

And even at 90 years old, Dr. Champion is still working. He’s mostly doing virtual medical counseling these days but he still comes into the store from time to time.

“When it gets into your blood, it’s impossible to just let go so I’ll try to keep on doing pharmaceutical work as long as I can,” he said.

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Champion said he doesn’t know what the next decade will bring, but he plans to live it as he has the past nine.

“I will try to keep my foot one step ahead and I think that’s one thing that has helped me during these years,” said Champion.

This Saturday, August 22 his family is hosting a special “Live Like A Champion” Drive-By Celebration on at Champion’s Pharmacy and Herb Store from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Champion’s Pharmacy and Herb Store is located 2369 Elvis Presley Blvd. and the community is invited to get in their vehicles to come to show some love

The Champion’s will also open its new Herbs on Wheels business which will provide herbs and medicine to people throughout the entire Mid-South.