Photographed by Matt Garner.

Personal Space

Photograph Matt Garner

As a youngster, Billy Hester never dreamed the downtown Maben drugstore he regularly visited with his grandmother would someday be his own business, much less his home. The early 20th-century building became both.

After working at the drugstore on and off from the age of 15 through college, Hester became a pharmacist himself, acquired the drugstore and operated it for almost 10 years. Although he sold his pharmacy business, he kept the building and converted the space into a personal residence in 2000.

Some things had to stay — like “Prescriptions” above the pharmaceutical area, and the actual marble countertop that once held a thousand milkshakes as the store’s soda fountain counter. Other keepsakes include a brass mortar and pestle — about 200 years old — displayed on a coffee table and vintage drug store paraphernalia protected in a glass-front case.

“I like old buildings, and I wanted something to be a reminder that it was a drugstore,” said Hester. “I remodeled because I knew if I didn’t do something, it would probably deteriorate and fall, like too many other properties. And since I’d spent so much time here over the years, it was already like a home for me.”