Why did a Facebook post about a new pharmacy in the metro-east go viral?
That's a tough question to answer, but a simple selfie of a smiling Shiloh pharmacist was shared nearly 3,000 times and counting.
The internet fell in love with LV Health and Welllness before it opened in February at 1219 Thouvenot Lane.
A month later, owners Vincent Williams, and his wife, Lekeisha, are still scratching their heads about the unexpected outpouring of support, but they're sure hard work and faith will keep the business going.
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"We're a Christian couple," Vincent said. "Whenever you walk in, you're always going to be greeted with smile. You're always going to hear inspirational music, positive music, things like that."
The pharmacy offers free deliveries within a seven-mile radius of the pharmacy. Delivering prescriptions for free goes along with their mission to help the community, Vincent said.
The couple grew up in East St. Louis before going onto pharmacy school. Vincent completed his doctorate degree at Chicago State University. Lekeisha completed her doctorate at Creighton School of Pharmacy in Nebraska.
They leaned on their faith and family before opening a pharmacy in the metro-east — a year later it happened.
"We want to know about you; we want to know about your family," Lekeisha said.
The pharmacy's motto is "Love health and change communities." Lekeisha hopes the change includes encouraging people to live healthier lifestyles. The pharmacy offers vegan vitamins and probiotics along with homeopathic products with natural ingredients.
They also have special products and vitamins for kids.
Their 6-year-old twins, Bryce and Caleb, are eager to find ways to help with the business named after their mom and dad. The "L" stands for Lekeisha, and the "V" stands for Vincent.
As tribute to East St. Louis Senor High School, they used their school colors, orange and blue, in the local design.
The pharmacy received a second round of praise from East St. Louis residents who found out the pharmacy would sell locally-made products as well.
Tandra Taylor, who is also a graduate of East St. Louis Senior High School, keeps her handmade soap in stock at the pharmacy. Her company, Tendresse and Sage, uses organic ingredients and avoids synthetic colorants and fragrances.
"I wanted us to make sure we were not just a part of the community, but we're also helping people within the community grow," Lekeisha said. "So if you have product that is in line with our vision as far health and wellness, we want to talk to you."
Want to know more about the pharmacy? For more information call, 618-589-9889.
Smithton barbecue restaurant will close just shy of two-year anniversary
A barbecue restaurant in Smithton will serve its final meals Sunday, the owner announced Wednesday on Facebook.
Kiwan Guyton, owner of Mr. BBQ's Rib Shack, said he was forced to close the Smithton restaurant. The Mr. BBQ location in Waterloo and the catering business will remain open.
"Please understand this was not my choice," Guyton wrote on Facebook, saying the lease had been sold without his knowledge. The location would have been open two years in April.
Joe Schmitt, the owner of the lease, countered on Facebook that Guyton had not paid the $700 in rent since December and said it "was no secret" the business was for sale.
The Mr. BBQ lease had expired at the end of January, Schmitt said by phone.
The Waterloo location at Mystic Oaks Golf Course, located at 643 Ridge Road, opens at 11 a.m. Sundays and Mondays; catering can be ordered at 618-406-9231.
This Belleville shop is moving to Swansea
After nearly a decade on West Main Street, the retail store and gift shop Peace by Piece will relocate from Belleville to Swansea later this year.
Owners Jason and Christina Keck, said the store will move into a former mattress store, located at 2427 N. Illinois St., sometime between May and mid-June.
Until then, it's business as usual at 132 W. Main St. The store is still stocked with American-made products and brands from around the country.
Moving to Swansea will make the couple's commute to work even shorter because they live in the growing village.
That's one of the reasons why they decided to move. Working and living in the same community was a longtime dream.
They've purchased the building formerly occupied by Sleep Center Furniture.
"We needed a little more space," Jason said Wednesday. "We needed a lot more visibility."
The couple said the flow of traffic decreased downtown when St. Louis Bread Co. relocated in 2016. Traffic dwindled even more, the couple said, when St. Elizabeth's Hospital moved from Belleville to O'Fallon late last year.
"We received a lot of business from that hospital," Christina Keck said. "We had doctors, we had nurses, we had people visiting patients there.
"To lose that number of people, has definitely impacted our business."
Customers will have free parking at the new location, along with more room to shop. One side of the new space — about 1,200 square feet — will be available for lease.
Toys R Us store in Fairview Heights could close
Taking a trip to the toy store could become even more a novelty as Toys R US prepares for what could be the end.
As early as the week of March 11, all Toys R Us stores could shut down, WGN-TV reports.
Earlier this year, the company announced plans to close 182 stores around the country by April. But now the entire chain could be in jeopardy, according to USA Today.
The company could be forced to close all remaining locations if it files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation, which would wipe out the company's debt. It had initially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which reorganizes debt.
In the metro-east, Toy R Us and Babies R Us are located on Commerce Lane in Fairview Heights.
When Toys R Us, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last fall, documents showed $7.9 billion in debt and $6.6 billion in assets.
In September 2017, CEO David Brandon said Toys R Us stores had announced plans to add interactive spaces with rooms to use for parties and live product demonstrations put on by trained employees.
The store also wanted to give employees the freedom to remove products from boxes to let kids play with the latest toys.
All Kids R Us stores closed in 2003. The first Babies R Us store opened in 1996.