William Pendleton Pipkin
William Pipkin was born June 22, 1868 in Arkansas and his father, Dr. James Andrew Pipkin, brought the family to Waco shortly thereafter. His father established a successful practice as a druggist in Waco and became a member of Waco 92. As soon as William was old enough, he followed suit and so did his brother, James Andrew Jr. The whole family was successful in the pharmacy business but none so much as William Pendleton, at least until many years later when his daughter took over the business and proved to be even more successful. One of the first pharmacists hired by the Pipkins was a man named Charles Alderton who achieved fame for creating Dr Pepper.
William and his father opened the first W.P. Pipkin Drugs store at 418 Elm Avenue in 1896 and the younger Pipkin immediately proved to be a diligent provider of medicine or other goods and very progressive in how he formed his business model. The store’s business outgrew its building and so he opened another location downtown near the Square and continued to open branches all over town.
Perhaps Pipkin’s smartest hire was his daughter, Pauline Pipkin Garrett, who graduated as valedictorian of Philadelphia College of Pharamacy in 1924 after having graduated from Baylor earlier. Despite it being his own daughter, the hire was mocked by Wacoans but Pipkin was undeterred and hired several more women to work in the store. Pauline eventually took over her father’s business and became one of the most successful women in any kind of business in the United States. Sticking true to the progressive philosophies of her father, Pauline made Pipkin’s Drugs one of the first places in Waco to desegregate in 1961. For years, the business had already had black employees.