There's nothing fancy and not much modern at Goolrick's Modern Pharmacy, where the druggist still delivers prescriptions and the soda fountain waitresses call everyone "baby."

Much of the store looks as it did 50 years ago, say employees and patrons. "They got real wild in 1950 and changed the outside some. Why change something if it works?" asks former owner and druggist Charlie Rector.

The new owner is already looking to replace a new Pepsi machine with something that looks older because the regulars don't like it.

At $2.25, an egg salad and bacon sandwich is the most expensive item on the menu at the pharmacy's lunch counter. Behind the counter, cigarettes are stacked in wooden racks alongside tins of snuff and Goody's headache powder.

"We get lots of tourists in here who say, `Look, an old-fashioned drug store, you don't see them like that anymore.' I say, `Yeah, and you know why? Because you wouldn't patronize them,' " Rector said.

The drugstore has been in business on the same downtown corner for 121 years - through a fire, floods, desegregation and the rise of chain drug and convenience stores that put many independent pharmacies out of business.

Rector bristles at the suggestion the store is an anachronism. "This is not a curiosity. This is what a drugstore is supposed to look like."

When Rector took over the business from his father and uncle in 1953, he had four competitors within a two-block radius. When he retired and sold Goolrick's this fall, it was the only drugstore in the business district in this city between Washington and Richmond.

A group composed mostly of elderly city natives gathers weekday mornings, each with an unofficial spot at the counter or at one of a half-dozen tables.

"It's not just a drugstore, it's a way of life," Rector said.

The store was founded in 1869 and remained in the Goolrick family until Rector's father bought the business in 1933, Rector said.

The drugstore has prepared prescriptions for generations of city residents and still delivers drugs at any hour. A few people who got their first Goolrick's prescription before World War I are still customers, Rector said.

New owner Stephen May has pledged not to make any major changes, although he does plan to add a few tourist trinkets to the inventory.

"I think everyone was worried I was going to rip the fountain out, or worse yet, fire all the help," said May, 39, a pharmacist who plans to keep the store until retirement.

Regulars are touchy about even the smallest changes. "They don't like the new Pepsi machine I put in here, so I'm going to try to replace it with something that looks older," May said.