After graduating from the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) School of Pharmacy, James Goodrich (J.G.) Hughes moved to Ashland from Cumberland County, VA. He opened Hughes Drug and married Nannie B. Luckett in 1889. Pharmacists of this era mixed chemicals and natural products by hand to make drugs in liquid or pill form often containing alcohol, morphine, cocaine or opium. He also sold perfumes, stationery, college books, kerosene lamps and fine toiletries, and many other items.
In 1901, J.G. moved the store from England St. to a two-story brick building he built at 106 South Railroad Ave. The Hughes name is carved into a cement plaque at the roofline. He built a similar building next door, which housed the post office for many years. For the next 84 years, the drugstore was a fixture in Ashland.