It was the start to a new beginning for Pharmacy 575 owners Mark Poling and John Mezger as they held their ribbon cutting on Thursday.
Pharmacy 575 is located at 305 E. Sanger in Hobbs.
Poling burst into tears as he was welcomed by Hobbs various organizations.
“Forgive me if I start crying,” Poling said. “This whole process for us has been a long process, three years in total. Two on this project. Without the support of my wife, none of this would’ve been possible. We want to be able to serve the citizens (of Hobbs) and serve God most importantly. We are here to give the community what they need and help take care of them. Make their experience a good experience and let them know they are loved and appreciated and count as an individual.”
Poling is from Oklahoma City, Okla., and received his education through Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, Okla.
After receiving his education, Poling began working at Walgreens as an intern and attended a job fair for the company.
“I was just looking to see what was available and I saw that Hobbs, I had never heard of Hobbs, New Mexico at that time, had a higher rate of pay and a sign-on bonus,” Poling said. “I joked with my wife and said, ‘Maybe we can go to Hobbs,’ and that’s how we ended up here.”
Though Poling left Hobbs for a short time to be closer to family, he, like so many other people who’ve called Hobbs their home at some point, ended up back in the area and working for another pharmacy until eventually opening his own.
Poling, told the News-Sun he came up with the idea of opening the pharmacy after speaking with someone and feeling a strong impression after the conversation that he needed to open up a pharmacy of his own.
“Two years into working at Walmart I had a strong impression from church leaders that I needed to try and not work on the Sabbath Day,” Poling said. “I was talking to someone and I felt a strong impression that I needed to open up a pharmacy and I began looking into it. I found one in Gainesville, Texas and the deal fell through. There was an impression that (the pharmacy) needed to be here in Hobbs.”
After speaking with Mezger, and Mezger telling Poling he was tiring working for a corporation, he saw it as an opportunity to get out and start a business of his own alongside his friend.
“John and I worked for Walmart,” Poling said. “I had an impression from God that I was supposed to open up a pharmacy here and I was working on trying to find a place. John gave me a call one day and said he was ready to get out of working for Walmart and I spoke with my wife and we decided to bring them on. We created the business, formed an LLC and the rest is history.”
Mezger is from Rockville, Maryland and got his education from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
Mezger did not immediately go to pharmacy school after graduating high school. He began contracting and was taught masonry and carpentry skills by his uncle and neighbor.
After learning what he could, he opened up his own contracting company and decided after several years to return to college and study pharmacy.
“I like science, I like math,” Mezger said. “It seemed like a good career to get into at the time and could make enough money to feed your kids. I had a wife and three kids when I was in school and I ended up choosing the safer route.”
Mezger and his wife moved to South Carolina for six years after finishing school and eventually ended up moving back to New Mexico.
“We loved the blue skies, we were tired of the traffic,” Mezger said. “I was a pharmacy manager in Artesia and that’s how I met Mark. I told Mark if you ever decide to open up a pharmacy give me a call. He ended up calling me. We both wanted to get out of the retail setting where we could make our own decisions. We could have more opportunities, get into nursing homes, do vaccinations. When you’re in a retail setting, it seems like you’re rushed and you don’t get a chance to know anybody.”
Mezger and Poling both credit their wives for supporting them through the whole process and pushing them to get to where they are today.