Building a Business and a Community
Gena Hassler, the owner of Hassler Drugs in Spring City, stays busy keeping her community healthy and happy.
Gena was born in Mississippi and later moved to Virginia, where she grew up with her mother, father and two brothers. Although her father was a civil engineer, she was the first child in the family to attend college, where she studied business.
After college, Gena moved back to Spring City to open Hassler Drugs. She found that she felt at home running the pharmacy, connecting with the staff and customers. Since then, she’s remained passionate about growing her successful business.
“This is my home,” she said of her pharmacy. “My house is my home away from home. The customers are family.”
Ready for a New Challenge
Gena wasn’t content to stop there, however. After opening Hassler Drugs, she felt driven to take her entrepreneurial journey to the next level and returned to school to become a pharmacist.
No stranger to hard work, Gena attended Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Every week, she drove to Birmingham for class, and every weekend, she returned to the pharmacy in Spring City.
“I didn’t finish pharmacy school until I was thirty-nine,” Gena said.
Even after pharmacy school, Gena’s business continues to thrive. Her pharmacy is a Spring City staple, and she maintains strong connections with her customers, going above and beyond to ensure their needs are met.
Making a Personal Connection
After speaking with Gena, it’s no question why her customers enjoy visiting her so much. She works hard to develop long-term relationships with the people she serves, which is both joyful and challenging in her line of work.
“[Our customers] get to be like family, especially the ones that… are in here a lot,” she said. “We’ve had to watch several people pass, which is hard because you really get a personal connection with everyone at a place like ours.”
Gena also praised her staff, their commitment to the store and to each other. It’s clear that she cares for her team and has great enthusiasm for her work.
Going the Extra Mile
During the pandemic, Gena maintained her business with the help of her dedicated staff, customers and tight-knit community. She said she’s grateful for loyal partners, like SouthEast Bank, who have always been there to support her and her business.
“I do almost all of my banking with SouthEast Bank,” Gena said. “They’re always helpful. They go out of their way to help you if you need to get a deposit made. If you think you’re going to need something you call them, and they handle it right away.”
What’s Next for Hassler Drugs?
Hassler Drugs has now been open for 46 years, and Gena doesn’t plan to pass the baton any time soon.
“I just enjoy being around the people,” she said. “The only thing I have at home is my dog, Sally. She’s my buddy, but the rest of the time my family is here.”
Although she doesn’t have much free time, she shared that she’s recently discovered a love of traveling. She tours the world with other entrepreneurial women from her community, including a local doctor and another local business owner.
“I’ve been to Greece, Italy, Germany, Austria and France, and we’re going back to Italy next month,” she said.
The next time you’re in Spring City, be sure to stop into Hassler Drugs to visit Gena and her friendly staff. You’re sure to discover a community unlike any other.
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