HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY
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.
By LORIE JEWELL
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
“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,”
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
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.