Tools of the Trade: Drug Stores

Throughout the month of June 2020 we will feature local businesses related to the new Tools of the Trade special exhibit now on display at the History Museum. The exhibit will run through October 12 and features the past tools and objects of various trades. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Roberson’s Drug Store and Broadway Pharmacy

Roberson’s Drug Store and Broadway Pharmacy, two prominent drug stores in Kissimmee, have a linked history.

J.Z. Roberson arrived in 1882 from Andersonville, Georgia, on the first train to reach Kissimmee. On December 17, 1905, J.Z. “Doc” Roberson opened Roberson’s Drug Store, one of the first drug stores in town. J.Z. served several generations before his retirement in 1946. The business was taken over by one of J.Z.’s sons, Roscoe and his wife Joy. Roscoe, having followed in his father’s footsteps was certified as a pharmacist from the Max Morris School of Pharmacy at Macon, Georgia. In 1952 the drug store was moved to a new building at 305 Broadway and was sold by Roscoe in 1957.

Roberson’s Drug Store

In 1910, John “Johnnie” Carl Schmidt was employed as a delivery boy for Roberson’s. From books borrowed from J.Z., Johnnie studied pharmacy and later graduated in nine months from the Max Morris Accelerated School of Pharmacy, receiving his degree in 1916. Johnnie continued working with J.Z. and in 1923, as partners they bought out the defunct Stanley Pharmacy.

Johnnie remained with J.Z. until 1928 when he purchased the interest of his partner J.Z. in the Broadway Pharmacy. Johnnie remained in the pharmacy business for 42 years. Earl Schmidt earned his degree in 1949 from the University of Florida and returned home to work at Broadway Pharmacy with his father. Earl sold his interest in Broadway Pharmacy in the late 1960s. Broadway Pharmacy remained open until 1980.

Earl’s brother, Dr. John Zachariah Schmidt was named after their father’s closest friend, J.Z “Doc” Roberson.

Written by Anza Bast

Sources:  
“The Orlando Sentinel” October 7, 1928, April 23, 1958, November 24, 1991, September 4, 1994, September 6, 2013
“Kissimmee Gazette” September 26, 1952
“Osceola County Centennial Book”
“River of the Long Water”