Biographical Sketch of Collier Family of Pharmacists
1886 – Current
Melvin Morris (M. M.) Collier was born July 13, 1869 in Pocahontas, Randolph County, Arkansas to the farming family of Henry Harrison and Susan Frances Almond Collier. “In the drug business since he was 17, he operated a business in Prairie Grove before moving to Fayetteville in 1917.”1 The 1900 and 1910 U.S. census lists his occupation as druggist in Prairie Grove, Washington, Arkansas with the 1910 census listing the Industry as “Own Store”. The February 18, 1916 edition of The Fayetteville Republic reports “We are authorized to announce M. M. Collier of Prairie Grove for re election for Representative, subject to the action of the Democratic primary, March 20, 1916.”3 “He was among the first to be licensed as a pharmacist in Arkansas after the state licensing law was passed.”2
After moving to Fayetteville, M. M. Collier owned and operated the Red Cross Drug Store on the north side of the Fayetteville Square. After graduating from the St. Louis College of Pharmacology in 1930, M. M.’s son, Morris Graeme Collier, joined his father in the operation of the Red Cross Drug Store. However at the early age of 11, Morris Collier had appeared in the 1920 U. S. Census with an occupation of Delivery Boy in the Drug Store Industry. M. M. Collier died July 24, 1949.
“He (Morris G. Collier) opened Collier’s Drugs in its present location (1995) in 1950. Five years later, when the Red Cross Drug Store burned down, Collier decided to expand Collier’s Drugs rather than rebuild. The new drug store had a soda fountain and the first automatic doors in the state.” “Collier was the president of his senior class at Fayetteville High School in 1925, president of the Fayetteville Rotary Club in 1961, president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce in 1946 and a past president of the Arkansas Pharmaceutical Association. He was an active member of the Central United Methodist Church.”4
Morris G. Collier was soon joined at the Dickson Street store by sons Morris H. and Carl M. Collier, Morris H. graduating from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences School of Pharmacy in 1963 and Carl graduating the following year. Morris G. Collier died January 18, 1995.
“In 2017 Collier Drug celebrated 100 years in Fayetteville. By that time it had grown to operate 10 stores across Northwest Arkansas. Collier Drug Stores has always been a family affair. The company, now owned by Carl’s son Mel, has been passed through four generations.”5
“Carl Collier, Morris’ son, had taken over the reins from his father upon the elder man’s retirement and along with his children Mel and Meredith (who has since moved on to real estate work) shaped Collier’s future during the 1990s and into the current century. Today, Collier Drug Store remains a Fayetteville institution. Now in business for almost one hundred years, the Collier family will soon begin a second century of service to Fayetteville and the surrounding area. Under the direction of young Mel Collier the family’s fourth generation in the business, Collier Drug is positioned to remain a viable local enterprise well into the foreseeable future.”6
1 Northwest Arkansas Times, Fayetteville, Arkansas, July 25, 1949, p 1
3 The Fayetteville Republic, Fayetteville, Arkansas, Feb. 8, 1916, p 3
4 Northwest Arkansas Times, Fayetteville, Arkansas, Jan. 19, 1995, p 1
5 Fayetteville Flyer, Fayetteville, Arkansas, September 13, 2017, pp 1-7
6 J. B. Hogan, Flashback, Journal of the Washington County Historical Society, Volume 62, Summer 2012, Number 2, pp 51-65
John T. Mitchell, BBA
October 16, 2021