Before Katrina, Triplett-Day Drug Co. had just marked 50 years of business and celebrated with an anniversary party in the pharmacy and café in downtown Gulfport.|
For the event, owner Jim Day and his family received a mayoral proclamation of appreciation.
Though the building sustained damage during Katrina from a falling ceiling and one blown-out window, it received very little water. That was odd, according to Poem Love, Day's daughter, who runs the café.
"We weren't sure what to expect. When my dad and my husband, Rance, finally made it to the store, they found playground equipment from the Gulfport Yacht Club hanging out of the west window. We only got 3 inches of water, but Gene Taylor's office across the street got 2 feet," Poem said.
The family attributes the lack of floodwaters to the strategic barricade of debris that made its way up from the harbor and jammed against the corner entrance.
The family immediately rolled into survival and recovery mode. Though Day and his wife, Joan, lost their home to floodwaters, they focused on taking care of their customers.
"We moved to our Highway 49 location at TD Pharmacy and opened on Thursday after Katrina with no electricity," Love said. "We were facilitating four pharmacies' worth of customers, and we gave the medicine out on the honor system most times."
Concerned for their regular customers from the beach who may not be able to get to U.S. 49, Love worked to convince Mayor Brent Warr of the importance of opening downtown Gulfport. Within four weeks, the pharmacy and café were open to the public. "We were one of the few places to eat," Love said. "We were packed."
The Days' dedication to community is apparent, according to a line from the anniversary proclamation that reads, "Triplett-Day is known to the city as a common meeting place in downtown Gulfport, a perfect place for coffee or lunch that still provides personal service. Although they have grown over the years, they still maintain the individual care and attention that our residents have depended on in the past 50 years."
PATRICIA "TSH" HANCOCK