Veazey Drug Company Collection
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Background:

The Veazey Drug Company story begins with the arrival of Stephen F. Veazey in Oklahoma City from Gibson County, Tennessee in 1900. The company narrative maintains that Veazey came to town with $20 and learned the pharmacy business through a series of jobs in local drugstores. This may be true but, Veazey and his brother James appear to have had a grocery store back in Dyer, Tenn. so he wasn’t entirely unfamiliar with the retail business.

In 1906, Veazey partnered with Thomas Roach to buy the W. B. Armour drugstore at Robinson and California. With growing success, they moved to the southeast corner of Main and Harvey after purchasing the drug store of Julius Seaforth in 1908. Though they had incorporated as Security Drug Company, they changed the name to Roach & Veazey Drug Company the following year.

After about a decade together, Roach and Veazey parted ways and Stephen’s brother James came out from Tennessee to partner with his brother in a newer, larger store at 135-137 W Main. The new partners removed Roach’s name from the store and operated as Veazey Drug Company.

Veazey Drug prospered during the 1920s and by Stephen Veazey’s twentieth year as a druggist the brothers embarked on an aggressive expansion plan. Following the city’s residential settlement patterns, Veazey’s (as it was popularly referred to) opened eight new suburban stores in the two-year period from 1927-1929 and four more in the early 1930s. In 1938 they championed their fiercest rivals, the Crown Drug Store chain, and added the Crown stores to Veazey’s for a total of 21 stores.

The Veazey brothers continued their success until their deaths in 1955. Both brothers died within months of each other – Stephen in June and James in August. Stephen’s wife Violet purchased controlling interest in the company from Mrs. James Veazey; their son William became the vice president of the company. The remainder of the 1950s saw the chain remodel and reinvent itself, ultimately contracting to 17 stores. In March, 1962, the firm was sold to the Adams drug store chain of Rhode Island. Adams retained the Veazey name in the Oklahoma City area. Later that year they also purchased the smaller Katz Drug chain and converted those stores into Veazey stores. The original Veazey #1 moved across the street into the Katz downtown location at 200 W Main, site of the famous civil rights sit-ins of a few years earlier.

Veazey’s was the last big drug store in a downtown retail area ravaged by suburban shopping malls. The store finally locked its doors for the last time when its air conditioner gave out in 1972; it cost more to repair the cooling equipment than the store made in profit. At any rate the building was already scheduled for future demolition by the Urban Renewal Authority.

The last Veazey Drug closed at NW 63 and Portland in 1974. A handful of former Veazey store buildings are extant including the original #8 at 728 E Culbertson and the renumbered #8 at 2624 W Britton in the old Puddin’ Lane Shopping Center. Two notable examples are store #3 now occupied by James E. McNellie’s Public House in the restored Plaza Court building and #21, a former Crown Drug, at 4200 N Western has been occupied by VZD’s Restaurant and Club since 1976. The current tenants pay homage to the original occupants by featuring photographs and fixtures from the old drug store.


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39 Comments

  1. I found an old wooden cigar box at my grandmothers house with the name Veazey stamped on it. I had know idea what this name was but I did a search and found your article. I learned some OKC history. I could give the box to the Oklahoma Historical Society if they are interested in those sort of things. Thank you again for the article.

    • Stephanie Veazey

      I would love to have the cigar box to add to my collection. I am the granddaughter of the founder. /Thanks for your interest.

      • Marjie Hall Bass

        I have some photos from when my mom, Dorothy Hall, worked at Veazey’s. She worked mainly in the cosmetic department.

      • My name is George Landrum. While visiting my mom in Ardmore, I found an old cigar box with “Veazey Exceptionales Hand Made ” and “hole in head” stamped on the inside of the lid while browsing at a vintage shop. The sales label said they were Havana Cigars from 1961. I took some pictures, there was part of an Oklahoma tax stamp on the box, and it was full, with 50 cigars in it. I doubt the cigars are any good, but almost bought them anyway since they were supposed to be Cuban! Not knowing the brand name I did a search and came upon this article. Very interesting, and I just might go back and buy them (but they were pretty proud of them, if you know what I mean). Written in ink on the interior do the lid was 9€ (cents) and 3/25.

  2. I have an old matchbook listing 20 addresses for Veazey Drug on it.

  3. How can purchase some of the Veazey drug co. photos? My niece is a Veazey and a pharm. I would like give them to her as a gift.

    • I have them on a disk if you would like a copy.
      Stephanie V. has the origional photos

    • Stephanie Veazey

      I am one of the original Veazey’s and have all the photo’s listed. Who is your niece? /S.Veazey

      • Marjie Hall Bass

        Stephanie,
        Do you remember the store at around 59th and north May?

      • My mom, Dorothy Beede then Dorothy Hall worked for Veazey’s for 25 years. Her last year would have been around 1962 at the N. W. 59th and May store.

        • That would be 67th and May

        • I was a soda jerk at that store in the summer of 1960. (My uncle by marriage was JB Veazey.) I don’t really remember your mother, but the manager of the store was a sandy haired older man who always drank a glass of club soda before he closed the store. We had a desegregation issue at the soda fountain that summer. Interesting times!

      • Stephanie, I am looking for a Cynthia Veasey. We went to Old Classen High School in OKC. She lived in the Old Pink Mansion in Heritage Hills down the street from me. She knew me in High School as Pat Vandergriff. Would you know how to contact her ? 🙂 Pat

        • Cynthia Veazey Pullin

          Hi Pat!

          I’ve been doing some family research and stumbled on this site regard my grandfather. Just out of curiosity I looked at the comments and saw this. I don’t know if Steph ( my sister) answered you–she has been swamped. It was good to hear your name. It is has been years!
          I live in Norman; Mike and I have been married for 42 years, we have 2 son and daughters-in-law and 5 grandchildren.

          What about you?

          Peace,
          Cindy

  4. Hello, Stephanie;

    I have some Veazy Drug Store labels. You probably already have these in your collection, but if not, I’m happy to send you a few of them. Here’s a picture:
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/159295507/9-vintage-blank-drug-store-labels

    You can contact me through that listing.

    Cheers,
    Leanne

    • Stephanie Veazey

      I have lots of labels, match books, bottles etc, but if you have anything I would love em. My work # is 843-8886

  5. I worked as a delivery Rx boy at the store at 23rd and Portland in 1958.
    Also store #15 and #22 I think. I used my Harley sportster as a delivery vehicle. When the weather was snowy the mgr. believe his name was Bill Raguzzi, would loan me his personal car.
    That was a long time ago as I am now 71 years of age.

    • Marjie Hall Bass

      Hi, Don,
      Did you work at the Veazey’s on May next to Lady Classen’s?

    • Don,

      I worked at 10th and May in 58/59 as the evening soda jerk and later delivered Rx when you left. As I recall you used to go down to the Dallas area on your Sportster over weekends. Bill Rigazzi was the primary pharmacist; he also had a helper behind the counter who’s name escapes me.

      • Alan,
        I remember you. Believe you drove a Chevy slant back. Also recall the helper and that he smoked Chesterfield cigarettes. There was another Pharm an older man but don’t recall his name. Do remember he had a new Bel Air!
        Long time ago..
        Don

  6. Hello,

    My father worked at a warehouse named Veazey Warehouse in 1958. Is this any relation to the Veazey Drug? I have been working on our family history for the last 30 years and just came across this information recently written in some old records. I would love to know if this place existed and if so, a little information about it. Thank you kindly.

    Deborah Phillips

    • Stephanie Veazey

      Yes, there were 2 warehouse location, one downtown, the other a little further west I think. I would have to pull the records, but the first wh was downtown.

  7. Sandy Quigg Porter

    I am working on my husband’s genealogy at this point. My mother-in-law and her twin sister used to work at a number of the Veazy Drug Stores when they were teenagers. This would have been late ’30’s and early 40’s. Their names at that time: Gloriola and Gloria Babb. There was one at the corner of N. W. Highway and N. W. 63rd where they met Portland. Does anyone know that actual address?

    By the way, ‘Hi” Cindy. I knew you and Mike while we were all down at OU. Long…Long time ago!

  8. Working On my mother’s Match book collection, I came across Veazey’s cover with 20 stores–the 20 being in a red circle–and the locations listed on the inside.
    Would you possibly have a date for this?
    Thanks.for your time.

  9. Sometime in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s my dad (Guy Veazey) went to the Veazey drug store on main street in OKC. He ask the clerk to see Mr. Veazey. The clerk came back and ask my dad what he wanted. My dad told him that he was working on our family tree and he wanted to know what Mr. Veazey knew about our family tree. The clerk went back and talk to Mr. Veazey and came back and told my dad that he did not want to talk to him. I was a small child when this happened and remember it very well. Jim Veazey Harrah, Oklahoma

  10. Janet Akin Padilla

    I attended old Classen in during the 1957-58 and 58-59 school years. There was a Veazeys located at about 18th and Classen that served the best hamburgers I have ever had. Every time I had enough money I went there for lunch and had a wonderful burger, fries, and a cherry limeade

  11. Janet Akin Padilla

    I attended old Classen in during the 1957-58 and 58-59 school years. There was a Veazeys located at about 18th and Classen that served the best hamburgers I have ever had. Every time I had enough money I went there for lunch and had a wonderful burger, fries, and a cherry limeade. There was always several bottles of pepper sauce available and we used to love shaking it over the fries. Makes my mouth water just thinking of those lunches.

    • Stephanie Veazey

      Janet, yes there was a Veazey Drug at that location and yes they severed the best hamburgers and grilled chicken sandwiches. I am the grand-daughter of the founder. I own and run Bill Veazey’s Medial store at 63 & may and have lots of the old Drug store pictures. would love for you to visit.

  12. Can you tell me which Veazeys was #65? I have found photos with this number included as a written detail.

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