When Edward "Ted" Ball started working at Crown Pharmacy on Lewis Street in Lynn, the shop had a soda fountain, and he was its soda jerk.
That was in the mid-1970s, and within a couple years the shop moved across the street. At that point, the soda fountain trend was on its way out in the pharmacy business.
"The writing was on the wall for soda fountains -- they didn't take it with them," Ball, 55, said.
Ball eventually went on to buy the shop in 1985, and has owned it ever since. But now, the writing is now on the wall for the independent pharmacies themselves, and he's preparing for a new opportunity.
Rite Aid has bought the pharmacy from him. They will close the shop and hired Ball as staff pharmacist at its location less than a quarter-of-a-mile away, also on Lewis Street.
It is the newest adaptation for Ball, who has managed to continue to work for Crown since his days as a soda jerk. He worked on staff, stocking shelves and running the register after it moved to its current location at 232 Lewis St., then attended Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, graduating in 1980, and became Crown's pharmacist. In 1985, he bought the business from Albert and Leonard Jacobs for $75,000.
"It was a golden opportunity that I jumped on," he said.
Now a Tewksbury resident, Ball grew up in Lynn and his wife and children have all spent time working at the pharmacy, including his daughter, Caroline, who has gone on to become a pharmacist, herself.
With health care costs climbing, it's difficult for independent pharmacies to survive, he said.
"The independents that remain will have to carve out a unique niche," he said.
Ball said he hopes customers will make the switch with him.
"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I'm optimistic that my customers will come over and do business there. I feel extremely fortunate, we've had some phenomenal customers over the years, it's their loyalty that's made it a good run."
The last day of business for Crown Pharmacy is Monday, March 11, Ball said.