Fort Davis Drug Store Struggles Amid Labor Shortage, New Owners Seek Community Support and Solutions

Image: The dining area of the Fort Davis Drug Store, a popular Fort Davis restaurant, is in the process of being converted to a lounge for guests of the hotel upstairs, according to a Facebook post to the restaurant’s page by the owner’s son.

The iconic Fort Davis Drug Store in Fort Davis, Texas, a popular tourist attraction in Fort Davis, Texas, remains closed due to a lack of staffing. The new owners, who took over the business a year ago, have faced various challenges, including the passing of one of the owners, an ongoing labor shortage, and negative reviews. In a heartfelt and detailed Facebook post, the owner’s son, Carl Haugen Jr., shared the obstacles they have faced and asked for the community’s support and ideas.

The post garnered over 100 comments, many of them offering encouragement, sympathy, and suggestions. Jonna T. mentioned her positive experience staying at the Drug Store last summer and offered prayers for the business to pull through. Penny C. expressed her love for the Drugstore and hotel and wished for a positive resolution. Christina B. lamented the closure of the restaurant, which will be missed by visitors.

Carl Haugen Jr. has made significant efforts to improve the Fort Davis Drug Store, including updating the building, investing in new equipment, and renovating hotel rooms. He shared that they had installed new AC/heat units in every hotel room, the entire second floor, and the restaurant space. They also worked on sanding, painting, cleaning, fixing electrical issues, and other maintenance work required for a 70-year-old building exposed to the intense mile-high Texas sun. Some of the work was done by Carl, his mother, friends, and local contractors.

However, the labor shortage and challenges with hiring staff have made it difficult to run the restaurant smoothly. In response to the situation, the owners are in the process of converting the restaurant space into a lounge for hotel guests, complete with couches, comfy chairs, a pool table, foosball, table tennis, a dartboard, and a new milkshake counter. They have also added a record collection and record player to the second-floor game room for hotel guests to enjoy. The first-floor lounge is expected to open on Friday.

Some commenters offered potential solutions. Kera B. proposed the idea of initially operating the restaurant as a breakfast-only establishment, which could benefit both locals and visitors to Fort Davis. Anne A. reminded the owners of the Drug Store’s roots as an old-fashioned drugstore serving burgers, sandwiches, and ice cream, and suggested they stay true to that concept. She also mentioned that selling smoked meat could be an option, but not under the Drug Store’s name.

Despite facing adversity, derogatory comments, and false rumors, the owners remain committed to improving the Fort Davis Drug Store and are open to ideas from the community. Carl Haugen Jr. addressed the rumors and negative reviews in his Facebook post, asking for a more civil environment and requesting that people refrain from posting abusive messages or spreading misinformation. He also expressed his willingness to listen to suggestions and answer questions from the community.

As the new owners navigate the challenges ahead, the support and encouragement from locals and tourists alike will be vital to the Drug Store’s future success. By fostering open communication and working together, the Fort Davis community can help ensure the continued operation of this treasured local landmark.



  1. This article would have been more legitimate and much more informative, had the author chosen to seek out commentary from those who had alternative points of view regarding this issue. These individuals are readily identifiable, and they would have provided the reader with a more balanced perspective about this situation.


    1. Anyone with an alternative viewpoint is welcome to comment, and even to insult my work and call it illegitimate. It’s a free country. However, I must disagree that the “legitimacy” of reporting requires an “author” to seek out every viewpoint on everything they report. That just doesn’t happen 90% of the time…never has in the history of media. Often, different viewpoints and facts about an ongoing story do not all appear in the same article. Sometimes publishing one story brings out additional information. In fact, that’s often the case in both local and global news. Furthermore, I take libel laws (and doing the right thing) seriously and simply cannot publish unsubstantiated accusations and gossip sans any evidence. Many of the statements I have seen and received via messenger are not substantiated by any documentary evidence or even specifics like dates, etc… For the record, I am the only “author” taking the initiative to report on an issue of concern to the community and I am not deleting anyone”s comments. I have also not published anything untrue, ever, in any of my media outlets. I intend to keep it that way.


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