Nola Life Stories
5:00 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Ain't Dere No More: Sydney Besthoff Reflects On K&B

Among the many innovations that K&B Drugstores brought to the New Orleans area were self-service drugstores, which didn't exist when Sydney Besthoff, left, began working at his family's company.
Among the many innovations that K&B Drugstores brought to the New Orleans area were self-service drugstores, which didn't exist when Sydney Besthoff, left, began working at his family's company.
Credit Historic New Orleans Collection & Infrogmation

When he started working at the family business in the late 1940’s, Sydney Besthoff III had no intention of becoming K&B Drugstore’s lead man. Over the course of the next 20 years, Sydney worked in every aspect of the business and became general manager. He expanded the company along the Gulf Coast throughout the 70’s and 80’s then sold the beloved chain in 1997. There was a local outcry — after all, K&B had been in New Orleans since 1905.

Perhaps Mr. Besthoff is being modest: at the time of the sale K&B was doing about $700 million in business. Since then Sydney’s focused on philanthropy; among his donations is the Sydney & Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden in City Park.

This interview was conducted by historian Mark Cave for The New Orleans Life Story Project at the Historic New Orleans Collection.

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