Pharmacy owners retiring after three decades

By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer

After serving Portales’ pharmaceutical needs for three decades, CJ’s Pill Box owners Dick and Vivian Haverland are retiring.

The longtime Portales residents said they’ll miss playing a big role in helping people get better.

“We’re going to miss all the people that we’ve taken care of over the years,” Dick said. “We’re probably into three generations since we started at Portales Drug.”

“We’ve got to help a lot of people,” Vivian said. “And it’s been hard work.”

The pharmaceutical business not only provided a career and a living for the Haverlands, but it also brought them together.

Vivian worked at Gibson Pharmacy in Clovis in the early 1970s, about the same time Dick graduated from the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy.

“My wife picked me out of the graduating class, and she thought I could be trainable, and that was my first job,” Dick said.

Vivian had her own reasons for picking Dick; and it wasn’t because he was trainable.

“I said, ‘I like that one’,” Vivian said. “I just liked the way he looked. He was an average student.”

Dick moved to Portales in 1971 and was employed at Portales Drug. A year later, he was hired as the pharmacist at Roosevelt General Hospital, where he worked for five years.

Dick and Vivian bought Portales Drug in 1977. They merged Portales Drug and CJ’s Pill Box at its current location in 1989.

The couple said the pharmacy industry has changed dramatically.

“We used to do everything on typewriters and by hand,” Dick said. “That’s probably the biggest change.”

“Used to be it was real simple,” Vivian said. “You’d fill 30-40 (prescriptions) a day, they were hand scripts, and you’d file them away by hand. Where we used to fill 30-40 a day, (now) we’re filling 250-300.”

The Haverlands acknowledged working with your spouse is not for everyone.

“I’ve been real lucky that we’ve been able to work together for 36 years,” Dick said. “Some people can’t do that.

“It wasn’t always that easy,” Vivian said. “There were days. There were days, but not very many. We really worked well together.”

Faith has also played an important role in Dick and Vivian’s career.

“I think God has guided both of us,” Vivian said. “We helped a lot of people, and if you can keep God in your workplace, it’s easier to deal with the bad and appreciate the good.”

The Haverlands have five children scattered throughout the country, and they figure to be a big part of the Haverlands’ retirement. They also have 16 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren they need to start spoiling, they said.

“We’ll spend a week with each one of (our kids),” Dick said. “Live off of them for a little while.”

Tawnia and Randy Gaylor purchased CJ’s Pill Box. Dick and Vivian believe that their business is in the right hands.

Tawnia Gaylor feels a sense of responsibility to continue caring for loyal customers.

“I’m excited. I’m scared and nervous but it’s nice to come back home,” Gaylor said. “People aren’t just customers or patients but they become an extended part of my family.”