BY JACLYN ROSE
Freedom Pharmacy, located at 710 4th Street in Mena, is a locally owned and operated full service drug store. Owner, Brain Erickson, was born and raised in Mena and is a 1989 graduate of Mena High School. He then went on to the University of Arkansas where he completed two years of required courses in Pre-Pharmacy, before graduating from Pharmacy School at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock. “My sister was a pharmacist and at first I was only going to do it part time but I liked it so much I started to do it full time. I like dealing with people and helping people. It’s why I get up and go to work,” explained Erickson.
Erickson married his wife, Jennifer, in 2006 and they have three sons. “My kids are great, they really melt your heart,” Erickson said.
After working in and around Polk County for 15 years as a Pharmacist, including several years as a Pharmacist for Mena Regional Health Systems, Erickson decided to branch out on his own and start Freedom Pharmacy on September 15, 2010. “I wanted to start my own pharmacy for a long time but I was always afraid to take the jump, after working for an independent in Waldron for a year and a half, I just felt like it was time,” explained Erickson. He now has 12 employees, including two other pharmacists, Cindy Cloud, originally from Pennsylvania and Brad Renick, a Mena native who spent several years in Little Rock.
Erickson is a humble man, but was described by one of his employees as the “nicest man you will ever meet with such a kind heart,” Erickson is quick to tell you his business is all about team work. “We try to work together as a team to take care of our customers. It’s not just about Brian, it’s about the whole group. We work hard together to do what the customer’s need and try to be fast and efficient and considerate of our customer’s time,” explained Erickson.
Aside from being a retail drug store, Freedom Pharmacy also has a limited supply of medical equipment, with a special order department, a full line of vitamins and greeting cards and a wide variety of purses and costume jewelry in the store. Freedom Pharmacy also offers free delivery inside of the Mena city limits.
“I enjoy taking care of people I know. Polk County is such a good place to live and raise a family,” explained Erickson. “We do our best to take care of everyone, and we enjoy giving back to the community. We care. That’s what separates us from everyone else simply that we care and we try to give back to our community. When you come in and see our big sign that says, ‘We are here to help!’ that is more for our employees than our customers. We work hard to help each other and when we do, we will all have a better day.”