From the time Charles R. Walgreen Sr., founded the company in 1901, Walgreens was a family business. His son, Charles Jr., started working in the stores at age 9 and eventually succeeded his father as company president and chairman. Charles Jr.’s son, Charles III (also known as Cork), started as a Walgreens stock boy, then succeed his father, establishing three generations of Walgreens working with their sons and leading the company throughout its first 98 years.
That tradition of fathers working with their children at Walgreens continues today, 122 years after its beginning. Meet some of the dads and their children who currently work together:
FATHER: Fred Holly, Walgreens district manager, pharmacy and retail operations, Deltona, Florida
Ours is a Walgreens family. I’ve worked at the company for my entire 30-year career, my wife works there and each of my three kids have worked there at some point, including my daughter Tabitha and son Nolan, who have chosen to build their own careers at Walgreens. My kids and I have never worked in the same store, but we did have the privilege of briefly working together for about three months several years ago when I was on a special assignment as a district manager in the store where Tabitha was the pharmacist and Nolan was a customer service associate. It allowed me to see my kids as adult professionals up close for the first time. I saw the passion Tabitha has for her patients and her profession, and the easy way Nolan builds a rapport with customers, always putting them first. Seeing them be successful in their jobs makes me very proud. Getting feedback from other people who have interacted with my kids and who see the same thing I see reaffirms the adults that they've become and the good work they do within the company. I'm thankful they've taken the paths they have and grateful they're happy doing what they're doing.
DAUGHTER: Tabitha Atkinson, Walgreens pharmacy manager, Stuart, Florida
Sometimes it seems that there isn’t a day that goes by without people stopping me at work to tell me how much they appreciate my dad. I really admire how he works to connect with each team member, and seeing the impact he’s had on people gave me the drive to get to where I am today. I was introduced to the pharmacy at a young age when my dad would bring me to the store and I got to talk with the pharmacist and learn what he did. As I got older and had a chance to watch the pharmacists in action, I thought “This is really cool, I could do this.” When I started working at Walgreens part-time, the pharmacy manager my dad introduced me to as a girl happened to work in the same store and remembered me helping out years before. He took me under his wing and got me thinking seriously about being a pharmacist for the first time. I’m now 18 years into my Walgreens career and am forever grateful to my dad for introducing me to something I love to do, at a place where I love to work.
SON: Nolan Holly, Walgreens shift lead, Altamonte Springs, Florida
I got to hang around with my dad at the store he managed when I was a kid, so I’ve been able to see the professional, Walgreens side of him for a long time. And what’s stood out to me, even from the time I was young, is how he interacts with people. As I’ve gotten older and started my own career at Walgreens, I’ve witnessed his connection to his team and his ability to make a positive impact on them. I’ve had people come up to me who worked with him 10 or 15 years ago tell me about their vivid and positive memories of working for him. That’s always stayed with me and has been a helpful guide as I’ve advanced into leadership positions. One of the biggest things he’s taught me, especially working in a customer-facing job, is to remain calm, listen and be respectful. To this day, when he interacts with customers, he has such a high level of care and makes sure they’re happy. And that makes me want to strive to have that connection, not only with customers, but with my team members and patients as well.
FATHER: Robert Courtney, Walgreens inventory specialist, Knoxville, Tennessee
I've spent my entire 32-year career with Walgreens in various capacities within different stores, including as a store manager, so it's been an important part of my life.
All four of my kids have worked for Walgreens at some point, including my two oldest, Catherine and Christopher, but Reid and Rileigh have decided to follow me and make their careers here, too, which makes me proud. I never recruited any of my kids to work at Walgreens, they’ve just managed to find it on their own, although Walgreens has always been a big part of our family’s lives, so maybe it was inevitable. I do feel blessed that I’ve been able to share common experiences with my kids, and I can give suggestions or help when they need it. I tried to instill in them that they can't fix things overnight and to have patience with everyone, customers and team members alike.
SON: Reid Courtney, Walgreens store manager, Maynardville, Tennessee
I’ve worked my way up to managing a store in the three years that I’ve been with Walgreens, but I guess you can say I’ve been training for it since I was a little kid, coming to the store with my dad after school, on weekends and in the summers, following him around and watching what he was doing as a store manager. My dad gave me my first job at Walgreens as a temporary cashier during the pandemic, and I learned a ton from him. He taught me the Walgreens way, and that’s been an important part of my career path because he showed me the right way to do things. He’s so knowledgeable about the business, so every now and then if I have a question or need some advice, I’ll give him a call. My dad is 100% of the reason where I’m at now, so I dedicate my career to him.
DAUGHTER: Rileigh Courtney, Walgreens pharmacy operations manager, Knoxville, Tennessee
I took my own path to Walgreens that was different from my dad and brother. As kids, Reid would hang out with dad at the store, while I spent more time with our mom, so I really wasn’t exposed to Walgreens until I began working here part-time in 2018 when I was in college. When I started, I'd have to work in the front of the store and also back in the pharmacy, but I would always beg to go back to the pharmacy because it was just a lot more fast-paced and interesting. Since graduating and getting a full-time position, I’ve worked my way up to manage all the pharmacy technicians, and the pharmacy is still as fast-paced and interesting as ever. My dad is very well known across our district, and everybody just loves him. I may have taken a different path to my career at Walgreens through the pharmacy, but he’s always been an inspiration to me, and I want to be just like him.