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VIProfile: Steve and Terri Sheldon

Story by Emily Robertson

As they sit next to each other in an office above their Fairview pharmacy location, Terri Sheldon leans towards her husband Steve, and beams as she talks about their relationship. “I tell people, it’s like two worlds collide with us,” Terri says. “We are married and we have a wonderful marriage, but it’s funny because what I do is not always his strong suit and definitely what he does in every area is not my strong suit. We really do complete each other.”

Despite their many differences, their relationship began in the 1980s because of something they had in common: careers in pharmacy. And that, plus a shared purpose to help others, is what has led their lives ever since.

“I’m five years older than Terri and we met when I was out of school, working in a pharmacy,” Steve says. “She was a pharmacy intern and I got to know her and we connected, but when I finally got the nerve to ask her out, she said no.”

That initial rejection didn’t deter Steve, and after Terri went back to school in Lexington Steve would drive back and forth trying to court her. His persuasion finally worked and the two went on to date and eventually marry, after working to open a business. Steve and Terri opened the very first Sheldon’s Pharmacy across from their current location on Fairview Avenue in Bowling Green in 1988.

Steve says he asked the Lord to give him just 100 prescriptions a day, a number he was sure would keep him afloat. “My first Saturday I was open, I didn’t fill one prescription,” Steve says. “I didn’t know many people in this town, I just put a shingle over the door.” Little by little, business grew and now Sheldon’s Pharmacy has locations in three states and fills more than 70,000 prescriptions each month and the Sheldons have worked on additional business ventures as well. 

Both Terri and Steve come from humble backgrounds but their parents have been key to their success. Terri’s parents, Jesse and Lana Hill and Steve’s mother Evelyn Jean Sheldon have done everything from passing out flyers to bringing baked goods for their staff. Steve’s father passed away when he was young as a result of military service but Steve knows that part of his drive in his life has been from his father no longer being alive. “When you lose a father at 17, you think about what he would say about your life,” Steve says. “I think he would be proud.”

The Sheldons know that the growth in their businesses can also be attributed to their fierce faith in the Lord as their guiding force and because of their family and business motto: “Do it Anyway.” The motto comes from a Kent M. Keith poem made famous by Mother Theresa where the author urges readers to be honest, do good and succeed in situations even when others are not.

“‘Do it anyway’ is such an important part of our lives, I had it plastered on a wall in our family home,” Terri says. “And that’s what I always remember about Steve. He would do the right, honest, good thing anyway. It didn’t matter who was treating him badly, or how it might impact him negatively.”

The Sheldons now see the fruits of their hard work and “do it anyway” mentality by seeing generations of customers through their business. “We’ve now waited on the great-grandchildren of customers,” Steve says. “You keep hearing stories on ways you’ve impacted people and you almost can’t believe it because it is just a way of life and you don’t hang your hat on it. But it is a big deal to the actual people you take care of.”

Helping and serving others is not just limited to the pharmacy for the Sheldons. Eleven years ago Terri started a non-profit, Curbside Ministries, after having a vision to help underserved areas of town and create a way for families to serve their community alongside each other. Curbside has seen tremendous growth and volunteers share their faith in Jesus to children all across Bowling Green each week by going to their neighborhood streets and meeting them where they are. “It’s crazy to me, because you don’t remember the beginning of an effort like Curbside,” Terri says. “But now you see all the children who participate and all the various programs and dozens of volunteers. It is truly amazing.”

Another way that the Sheldons give back to the local community is through Steve serving in his second term as a state representative for Kentucky. The role of political family was a bit more of an adjustment for both Steve and Terri. “I think a lot of people were surprised I went into politics and honestly, so was I, but it is an honor to serve my country in this way,” Steve says. “I have learned that the division that exists in politics was there long before I came along, but I want to present a calmer, common sense approach to the issues and I think that’s what I’ve done.”

Steve has not yet made up his mind on whether he will run for another term, and a big reason for that is the time required away from his family. The Sheldons have five children, plus additions from marriage: Ryan and his wife Courtney, Seth and his wife Charlotte, Spence, Seaton and Terra, plus now two grandchildren. The Sheldons have worked to instill in each of their children the importance of giving back, and several work in the family business at Sheldon’s Pharmacy, or have started local businesses of their own, including Donato’s Pizza and RockBox Fitness. “I’m proud of every one of them,” Steve says. “They’ve all dug in and given back to the community. Personal success is fine, but the way they give to and serve others is what it’s all about.”

“This community has been so good to us,” Terri says. “I don’t think you could find another community that is more for the ‘other guy.’ There is competition, but it is healthy competition. Our kids feel so much support and know that the community wants them to succeed and we saw the same thing when we started out. Bowling Green is truly remarkable.”

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