A downtown Ensley drug store is getting praise for expanding their definition of prescriptions into healthy living. Main Street Alabama presented Jimmy and Karen Crane of Gilmer Drug in Ensley with a Community Award on Wednesday, October 11 at 10 a.m. for their excellence in neighborhood place-making. With support from REV Birmingham’s Urban Food Project, the Cranes are finalizing improvements to the store’s physical space and diversifying products to better meet the needs of the Ensley neighborhood.
Gilmer helps reduce the barriers to accessing fresh produce that many Ensley residents encounter because of limited public transportation or access to personal vehicles. Through the Urban Food Project’s Farm to Corner Store Initiative, REV delivers fresh produce to the store weekly and supported creation of a store improvement plan that is now coming to fruition.
After a year-long store improvement process, Gilmer Drug’s commitment to Ensley is visible in recent renovations made possible in-part by the Joseph S. Bruno Charitable Foundation. After gathering input through community surveys and temporary place-making, Gilmer now includes an in-store community gathering space. REV partnered with Gilmer to bring Alabama Cooperative Extension (ACES), Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, Regions Financial and other service providers to offer services to residents, making Gilmer Drug an even stronger pillar of the community. Following the award ceremony, ACES provided the first of four wellness classes called “Champion: Let’s Get Physical.”
For twenty years, the family-owned-and-operated business has filled more than 150 prescriptions each day. The business is housed in a 100+ year-old building brimming with character. The business serves as a pharmacy and small retailer for senior citizens and their families. Gilmer is located at 413 19th Street Ensley, Birmingham, AL 35218.
See photos of the store improvements and the award presentation on REV’s Facebook page.
After opening Chocolatà Artisanal Chocolatier in 2017, Kathy D’Agostino has enjoyed watching the once quiet streets of downtown Birmingham come back to life. REV sat down with her to learn more about how she landed here, where she thinks the city is heading, and why Chocolata believes in Birmingham.