Forsyth County, Local History, North Carolina History

Goody’s goodies in the Camel City…

As always, click images for larger size where available…

North Carolina has always been an important producer and consumer of patent medicines. It is the birthplace of the three best known headache relief powders. All three had pretty much the same basic ingredients, powdered aspirin, salycylamide and caffeine. For instance, the original B.C. formula contained 650 mg aspirin, 195 mg salicylamide and 33.3 mg caffeine. And all three were aimed at the same market, railroad and factory workers, and others whose working conditions tended to cause a lot of stress, which often led to headaches. All three achieved wider distribution, with B.C. and Goody’s reaching the national level, although all three are mainly still sold mostly in the South.

Commodore Council

In 1906, Commodore Thomas Council and Durham druggist Germaine Bernard concocted B.C. Powders. Growth was slow at first, but by the late 1920s, they had built a manufacturing facility in Durham. B.C. was sold to the Block Drug Company in 1967, which was eventually absorbed by GlaxoSmithKleinl, thence to Prestige Brands.

B.C. was invented at the Five Points Drugstore in Durham

Around 1910, “Dr. Tom” Stanback created another headache relief powder at the Rowan Drugstore in the railroad center in Spencer and began handing out free samples to influential railroad workers, who spread the word throughout the railway world. By the early 1930s, he had established a production center in nearby Salisbury. Stanback’s catch phrase “Snap back with Stanback” became well known across the nation. Block purchased Stanback in 1988, with the same progression to Prestige Brands.

Milam, with headquarters in Danville, VA, was a classic patent medicine…each of its ads was different, claiming that Milam would cure pretty much anything from “impure blood” to rheumatism…and perhaps make sinners repent as well

The latecomer, yet most successful, did not arrive until the early 1930s. Pharmacist Martin “Goody” Goodman managed the Milam Medicine Company branch factory in Winston-Salem. In his spare time, he came up with a third headache powder. In 1934 he opened a drugstore on North Patterson Avenue and began selling his new product. He called both the drugstore and the headache powder “Goody’s”.

Goody’s was first manufactured on the third floor of the Universal Auto/First National Bank building at Liberty and Third Streets

One of Goody’s suppliers was the Bennett-Lewallen Company, Bert Bennett and Thad Lewallen, wholesale confectioners. In 1936, Thad Lewallen bought the rights to Goody’s Headache Powder and began manufacturing operations in rooms 309-311 of the First National Bank building at Liberty and Third Streets in downtown Winston-Salem. Lewallen adopted Stanback’s “free sample” policy, but also launched an intensive sales effort to mom and pop stores throughout the South, which led to immediate success. In 1941, Goody’s built a four story factory/office complex at 436-440 South Liberty Street in Salem. Glaxo/Smith/Klein bought Goody’s in 1995 and moved operations to Memphis, TN. GSK sold most of the Goody’s products to Prestige Brands, which continues to produce them, in 2012.

Women packaging Goody’s for shipment, South Liberty Street, c. late 1940s

George Hamilton III, the father of the noted pop and country singer George Hamilton IV, was, from the 1950s into the 1970s, the vice-president and general manager of Goody’s. He was succeeded by Tom Chambers as president and general manager.

At the time of that transition, Goody’s was becoming one of the first non-automotive sponsors of NASCAR. In 1977 they signed Richard Petty as the leading Goody’s spokesman. In the 21st century, Petty was succeeded by Dale Earnhart, Jr. Their advertising centered, naturally, upon wrecks, especially their series of “Goody’s Headache Moments”. From the point of view of both subject matter and target audience, It was a perfect fit.

A “Goody’s Headache Moment”, Matt Kenseth deliberately wrecks race leader Joey Logano (22) at Martinsville, 2015

They also sponsored a number of individual races, including the first ever Busch Series (originally the Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series, now the Xfinity Series) race at Daytona in Februrary 1982.

President Tom Chambers presents the winner’s trophy at the Goody’s 300, inaugural Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series (later Busch Series) race, at Daytona, February 13, 1982. Some may recognize the guy holding the trophy.

Meanwhile, Thad Lewallen’s daughter Ann, who was born a few years before the Goody’s adventure began, grew up wanting to be a part of her father’s company. She graduated from Salem Academy, Mount Vernon Junior College, in Washington, DC and entered UNC in Chapel Hill as a business major. A woman majoring in business in the late 1940s was pretty much unheard of and her professors let her know that she was in the wrong place, but she did not care because she thought she knew where she was headed, back to Goody’s. When she graduated in 1950, that was delayed for a few years, because she got married and had six children.

Ann Lewallen Spencer

The ensuing decades were occupied by child rearing and a lot of alumnus activity for her respective schools. But she never quite left Goody’s. Throughout her life she was a relentless promoter of the product. People who did not know her would go to events and find her standing at the door, handing out free samples of Goody’s Headache Powder. And in 1992, she finally made it back to Thad’s company as president and CEO of Goody’s Pharmaceuticals. When the company was sold to Block in 1995, Ann donated the Liberty Street building and land to the Salem Academy and College.

Julianne Still Thrift, the president of the Academy & College, subsequently negotiated a trade with Old Salem. Old Salem got the Goody’s site, the Academy & College got the land under the Shober House on Salem Square; the fruit tree lot to the south of Gramley Residence Hall; and, the land behind Gramley as well. A good result for all.

Ann Lewallen Spencer died on April 10, 2016. But Goody’s goes on.

Goody’s products today

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.