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Following in Family Footsteps: Melissa Lee & Mel Healy

The mother-daughter team of Good Deed Goods, located inside Lee’s Inlet Apothecary in Murrells Inlet, is mother, Melissa Lee, and her daughter Mary Emily (Mel) Lee Healy. The two women talked with Sasee about the importance of family ties, and how they are carrying on the traditions passed down through the generations.

“Both sides of our family owned and operated family businesses and that’s a big part of our lives,” Melissa began. Her parents owned Southside Pharmacy in Myrtle Beach. “Being a part of a family pharmacy helped us develop Lee’s Inlet Apothecary. Southside had a soda fountain, similar to ours, and we even used the same red stools. More importantly, it’s the way we treat our customers.” Growing up, Melissa worked in the front of the store. When her father built his larger store, well before any of the big box chains came to our area, the store sold everything from makeup and perfume to floats and suntan oil.

“Southside Pharmacy was a place where the community gathered,” Melissa remembered. “My husband Willie’s parents shopped with us, and we ate at their seafood restaurant (Wallace Lee’s Seafood) every Friday night as a family.” Continuing, Melissa told me that her husband, Willie interned with her dad in college, and that’s how they started dating! “My dad pierced baby’s ears – they would come in at a week old to get them done. And, I remember one time he got a fiddler crab out of a boy’s curly hair…so many fun memories.” Laughing, Melissa told me she always asked to work on the night the lifeguards would come in to cash their paychecks. “I got to see a lot of cute guys.”

Mel spoke up with her memories of Lee’s Inlet Apothecary. “I was maybe 11 or 12 when the pharmacy opened. I was so excited to work behind the soda fountain.” Mel did work in the soda fountain and in every aspect of the store except the pharmacy. “I grew up here – all of my siblings did. When we were sick, my parents would put a pallet in the back of the pharmacy, and we would sleep while Mom and Dad worked.” Mel especially loved making floats and ice cream sodas for customers. “They always got excited because they couldn’t find them elsewhere.”

By the time she reached 8th or 9th grade, Mel was going with her mom to market. “I would tag along and help her choose gifts, and as I got older it was good to have someone to brainstorm with about the best things to buy.” A year and a half ago, Mel came on board full time.

Mel shared how the idea for Good Deed Goods came about – she and her mom were at market while Willie and Mel’s brothers were on a church mission trip. “We were talking about the contrast in what we were doing, and Mom came up with the idea for Good Deed Goods. Now we give back 10% of every gift sold to our charity partners.” The charities change every six months, and there is one local, one national and one international organization. The mother-daughter team also purchases many gift items that already give back a portion of their proceeds. “Our give back mission is so important to us.”

I asked Melissa to talk about the changes brought about by COVID-19. “When the quarantine first came down the pipe, about four weeks ago, we decided to stop allowing customers inside the store, and go totally curbside. In times of crisis our focus immediately shifts to the pharmacy, we must make sure people get their medicines.” The pharmacy offers curbside pick-up or free delivery for its customers. “It’s weird to not have people in the store, and we miss seeing our customers who are also our friends.”

“In the past couple of weeks, we’ve been able to focus on the gifts again. We’re promoting curbside pickup for purchases and have even shipped gifts.” Melissa continued, saying, “It’s so important to allow people to buy a Mother’s Day gift or a birthday gift, even if they have to leave it on the doorstep of the recipient. It gives some normalcy, and giving gifts is a part of the beauty of living. We can have a life within this chaos.”

Mel has been posting Mother’s Day gift ideas on Instagram and Facebook. “If anyone is interested, they can call or direct message us on social media. They can pick it up curbside or we’ll deliver it. We gift wrap as well.”

Good Deed Goods, located inside Lee’s Inlet Apothecary, is open from 9am-6pm, Monday-Friday, and 9am-2pm on Saturday. Call 843-651-7979 and ask for Mel or Melissa. They’re happy to be your personal shopper for Mother’s Day or other occasion. Watch for frequent updates on Facebook and Instagram – @gooddeedgoods.