Mary Ellen Castro is just one of the friendly faces seen every day at Quincy’s Heartland Pharmacy. Castro first started working for its owner, David Manning, after she graduated from Quincy High School in 1993.
“I’ve worked here ever since we moved from Call’s Drug,” said Castro. “We were just across the street from Rob’s Video store on Central before we moved to F Street.”
She started out as a photo tech, developing film. Then she worked herself up the ranks as cashier before she started working in the pharmacy two years ago as a pharmacy assistant.
“I love the people,” said Castro. “I’m a people person. You feel like you have a special connection with the customer.”
Her husband, Albert, is a D.J. for special events such as weddings and quinceañeras. Castro enjoys going with him and sometimes takes pictures for the hosts.
“I got a 110 camera when I was 10,” Castro remembered. “I would take pictures of my friends and Barbie dolls and toys.”
Castro’s love of photography grew, and in high school she took the photography class that was offered and she joined the high school annual club.
Castro said she escaped to the darkroom sometimes during regular class to work on her photos. She dreamed of one day having her very own darkroom in her home. She still loves photography and takes pictures whenever she has a chance.
“When I retire, I would like to do photography,” said Castro.
Castro has always had plenty of reason to capture each moment with her camera. She never missed an opportunity to capture in pictures her son, Marcus Medina, or her stepchildren Albert, Ashley and Amanda.
“We would go to Leavenworth or to Blackbird Island and I would take pictures,” said Castro. “They call me the paparazzi because they couldn’t go anywhere without having a camera on them.”
When she has time on her hands, Castro enjoys seeing her nieces, nephews and her grandkids, Jeremiah, Adrian and Brooklyn.
She also loves to travel, and has been to Nashville and the Bahamas with her husband on business trips.
“We stayed in Opryland in Nashville,” said Castro. “It was the coolest thing ever.”
Castro loves living here in Quincy most of all. To her, it’s her own little slice of heaven.