Meeting pharmaceutical needs for 30 yearsPublished 7:00am Tuesday, May 20, 2014
For the past 30 years the Cruse family has been providing Picayune with pharmaceutical services.
Fred’s Westside Pharmacy has been operating off of Goodyear Boulevard on Kirkwood Street since 1994, said owner Dianne Cruse. Previous to that opening that business, her late husband Fred Cruse III operated Medical Arts Pharmacy for 10 years, Dianne Cruse said.
“So we’ve had a drug store in Picayune for 30 years,” Dianne Cruse said.
Previous to acting as a pharmacist in his own businesses, Fred Cruse III worked as a pharmacist at Eckerds and Medical Center Pharmacy.
These days Dianne Cruse and her son, Gordon Cruse, run the business, with Ron Fealko as the pharmacist and Barbara Cuevas serving as the pharmacy technician.
Dianne Cruse said the business offers fast, friendly service at good prices and is able to accept most insurance policies. Also, every new customer is given a free t-shirt in the color of his or her preferred school district, blue or maroon.
A former teacher, Dianne Cruse has a special place in her heart for the Picayune and Pearl River Central school districts. Previous to her retirement from the education system in 2006, Dianne Cruse taught English and was a librarian at schools in the Pearl River Central, Hancock and Picayune school districts.
While Dianne Cruse misses the children from her teaching days, she does not miss the extra federal regulations created as the years passed.
“It became a chore instead of a joy,” Dianne Cruse said.
Many of the children she came to know working as an educator are now customers.
The business is heavily involved in the community in many ways. One of them involves providing stuffed animals to the Department of Human Services and the Picayune Police Department to hand out to children during stressful situations such as a parent’s arrest.
Additionally the business sponsors a number of local sports teams and also provides bicycles to children in two school districts.
Each year around Christmas the pharmacy donates bicycles to disadvantaged children in both school districts through the Fred Cruse III Foundation. Dianne Cruse said previous to his passing in 2010, Fred donated bicycles to children in the Nicholson Elementary area since opening the location on Kirkwood Street. After his passing, she and her son established the foundation to continue his efforts and expand the program into both school districts.
“Since I taught at both school districts I have a fondness for both,” Cruse said.
Over the past 20 years Dianne Cruse estimates about 500 to 600 bicycles have been donated to local children through the business. Last year 104 bicycles were donated to local children.