DALLAS - A local pharmacist leaves the corporate world to open her own pharmacy in Oak Cliff.
Oak Cliff is where Dr. Toni Smith grew up under the watchful eyes of her mother and grandparents. She says she now finds it rewarding to give back to the very people who helped shape her professional career.
After 14 years as a corporate pharmacist, Dr. Smith has gone back to her roots in Oak Cliff to open her own pharmacy.
"This is my neighborhood. This is where I grew up,” she said. “These are my people, and there is a need here."
Smith says it was the premature birth of her second child, Melissa Jo, that helped her make the decision to open her own business. Born at 26 weeks and weighing just 1 pound and 3 ounces, Melissa Jo spent a year in the hospital and had several brushes with death. Now at 2 years old, she is now strong and healthy.
"It's like she gave me my second wind,” Smith said. “She caused me to look at life much more differently.
Smith says as an only child raised by her mother and grandparents, she's grateful to be helping people in the same community that helped shape her life.
“We just try to help as many people as we can,” she said.
Smith even make deliveries to patients who can't get out.
"I'm really proud of her,” said patient Darlene Swanson. “It's great for her to come back and be able to help."
Smith gives much credit to her late grandfather, a mechanic of more than 50 years who taught her the importance of an education and giving back.
"By the time I went off to college, I had like 20 to 25 bonds. Some of them said $50,” she recalled. “He would tell us that these are for your education. I would go on to the bank sometimes and cash them and I would just be in tears. And I just knew I had to do something for my grandfather. And this is it."
Dr. Smith's Loop 12 Pharmacy has only been open for six months, but she says her business is growing.
Smith says she enjoys having the time to get to know her patients. That was something she says was more difficult to do in the fast-paced corporate world.