BY RICH JONES
ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR
Atchley Drug Center changed ownership on Wednesday as Bob Gregg retired after 35 years, selling the business to a partnership of Corley's Pharmacy and Will Giddings, the pharmacist who will manage the store at 511 Asheville Hwy.
Plans are to keep everything the same at Atchley's, including the name and telephone number.
The new owners are Alan Corley; his mother, Mareta Corley; Robert McNeese, pharmacist in charge of Corley's on Snapps Ferry Road; and Giddings.
Giddings is originally from Coushatta, La., and is a graduate of the University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy at Monroe, La.
Most recently he was at an independent pharmacy in Lenoir City.
Giddings, 32, has moved to Greeneville with his wife, Rowena, and their two children, Jacob and Julia.
Gregg spent his last day at Atchley's on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, he recalled his first day as owner of Atchley's.
Gregg said that he bought the business from Wendell Atchley in 1974 and kept the Atchley name because he was "wet behind the ears," and for two additional very good reasons.
"First, I thought, 'If I fail, nobody will know it was me,'" he said.
"Second," Gregg said, "there was a sign out front, and I didn't have the $1,000 to change it!"
'MANY LIFETIME CUSTOMERS'
His retirement has been in the works for awhile.
"It's time. I've watched a lot of families grow up. Kids that were toddlers are very much adults now," Gregg said.
"We have many lifetime customers here. I remember many folks from coming in here in their mothers' arms, and now they're walking in with children in their own arms," he said.
As for his retirement plans, Gregg said he'll do some volunteer work "and a lot of honey-do's."
Gregg said he thinks highly of the store and its future potential.
"I think the location is great. This end of town has just started awakening," he said. "It's definitely a draw to be next to Food City."
Alan Corley said much the same.
"That end of town seems to be growing. The store will be a complement to us on the other end of town," Corley said.
The public should notice no changes at Atchley's, Corley added.
HOW THE SALE UNFOLDED
Asked how the sale came about, Corley said: "We had talked to Bob off and on for a few years. It's a natural thing for us. We like to see independent stores stay open and locally-owned."
Corley said that McNeese and Giddings had met each other a few years ago at a pharmacy conference and had become acquainted.
Giddings said he will assume the title of owner/pharmacist/manager.
"I've always wanted to be at an independent pharmacy. It's more of a family feel," he said on Wednesday.
"We're going to continue to build on that and enhance that. I'm a big customer-service guy," Giddings said.
'I'M ALWAYS AVAILABLE'
"I'm always available, and I look forward to meeting the needs of people in Greeneville and Greene County," he added.
Giddings, who was at work at Atchley's on Wednesday, said he couldn't be happier.
"You couldn't ask for a better location," he said, noting that Atchley's is next-door to Food City on one side and Family Dollar on the other, in addition to being close to Takoma Regional Hospital and nearby physicians' offices.
"We're certainly in a prime location," Giddings said.
The telephone number is 639-5155.
Tommy Gregg, brother of Bob Gregg, has been business manager at Atchley's. He turns 65 soon and also plans to retire in coming months, Bob Gregg said.