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Palace Drug owner steering a legacy Canon City company back to Silver Cliff

What is it like to acquire a legacy company along with its historic building in Cañon City and then expand the business to Silver Cliff? Dr. William Shelver of Palace Drug views his ownership and management of the company as a caretaker, someone who recognizes his role in preserving its heritage.

Shelver is a licensed pharmacist and received his degree of Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree from the University of Colorado in 2007. In 2007 he bought stock in the company, and by 2020 he became the sole owner. In 2020, the impetus to open the business in Silver Cliff was a need based on demand by Custer County residents. “We were delivering prescriptions to Westcliffe and Silver Cliff customers in 2020, and then a year later, deliveries became a daily service and more of a need. Eventually, it made sense to open a store along Main Street in Silver Cliff,” Shelver said.

Palace Drug was first established by George Pedley and Mr. Merriam at 432 Main St. in Cañon City in 1880 (Merriam also had a drug store in Silver Cliff and then Westcliffe for several decades). Then in 1899, Pedley purchased a complete interest in the drug store and moved it to 405 Main St. Along the way, Lloyd Egbers and Alf R. Mitchell bought in their shares with Pedley to run the drug store for 33 years before buying Pedley’s share two years later.

In the meantime, a building was erected in 1902 for T.B. Coulter, which replaced a rundown wooden structure. The new brick structure at 601 Main St. became the home of Cañon Savings, but when that business failed in 1907, Mitchell & Egbers Palace Drug Store moved into the space, where there was a laboratory in the back and a salesroom in the basement.

In 1913, the drug store got a new entrance from the corner of the building to the middle of the south side. In 1923, Mitchell left the business. That same year, Bob Ream joined the firm and took over as the sole owner in 1949. He remained the owner until Kenneth Charles purchased it in 1968. In 1991, Bill Masse purchased it from Charles, who retired in 2019.

Shelver said in May 2020, he and his wife remodeled the store and took down the plaster that covered the original brick interior. They discovered a time capsule dated May 4, 1960 that contained a list of the employees. They also made other modifications to make the store look more like its original interior.

Shelver said the new store uses an app and a video scanning process to review prescriptions locally and then sends the information electronically to the pharmacist in Cañon City. The pharmacist reviews the information and approves the sale and bottling with a technician in Silver Cliff. The process speeds up the transactions and allows customers to pick up medications that day or the next. They also offer over-the-counter medications and first aid items.

“I am fortunate to be part of something that has a long history. I view my role as taking care of the business for now and into the future,” Shelver said.

Asked if he plans on expanding the pharmacy to meet the needs of the community, he confirmed that he and his wife intend to do so once the Silver Cliff branch becomes established.

Palace Drug can be reached by phone at 719-271-9402, email, fax 719-735-0468, or by their website Customers are encouraged to drop by to learn more about the store and how it can assist them in the future.

– Ellen Glover

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