SUU to Everywhere

Martene Barker ('02)

Martene Barker ('02)
SUU to Pharmacist

Originally published on August 06, 2020.

Martene Barker calls herself a homebody, which could also be an apt label for her educational and vocational life, as she has steadfastly maintained her commitment to Cedar City, Southern Utah University and to serving the pharmaceutical needs of the surrounding populace.

And, she says, her SUU experiences have made a distinct mark on her life, not only helping to prepare her for her vocation but also introducing her to her life partner. She and Steve Barker met in Don Marchant’s Communication 1010 class their freshman year as Thunderbirds in 1998 and were soon married. They added their daughter Taylor to the family in their senior year and their first-born is a 2020 SUU freshman. They’ve since added daughter Brooklyn and son Wyatt to the fold, and the family is devoted to SUU, including as die-hard T-Bird sports fans.

“I loved my time at SUU,” she says. “I loved the feel of a smaller school yet with all the opportunities and degrees it offers. I love how SUU is intertwined within our community. During my freshman year I really struggled with the changes in life from high school to college. A lot of my friends went elsewhere and I had to find my new self. SUU helped me to find who I am today. It helped me to gain the confidence I needed to be successful in my education.”

Perhaps the greatest gift she received as a Thunderbird—other than her husband, of course—was the preparation for life and career.

“My education at SUU prepared in so many different ways. It helped prepare me for graduate school and helped me to find my strengths and gain confidence in myself,” she says.

A true Cedarian, Martene grew up in the broad shadow of SUU and spent many a day along Main Street in Bulloch’s Drug Store and related businesses owned by her parents, Evan and Chris Vickers. The pair took up residence in town in the 1990s and expanded the core business to four stores, making the family a zestful presence in the heart of downtown.

Martene only left town for any appreciable amount of time to attend graduate school at the University of Utah, where she earned a doctorate in pharmacy, and came home to Cedar to work in the family business. She had been preceded the year before by brother Robbie, who’d taken the same round-trip path from SUU to U of U and back to Cedar’s Main Street.

While she was in Salt Lake City, her father Evan (who, incidentally, has been a member of the Utah State Legislature for more than a decade and is currently the majority leader of the senate) opened Township Professional Pharmacy near the Cedar City Hospital, and his daughter and son aided in that undertaking.

The family dynamics have made a tangible imprint on the Vickers/Barker business profile.

“As my parents are looking to retire, my brother and I will be taking over the business,” Martene says. “Robbie and I work together in managing the pharmacy. I also do a lot of the managerial with all the other retail stores. Last year we decided to add to our businesses and opened the Richfield Community Pharmacy in April of 2019. It was one of the hardest and most time consuming things we did. It has been a great learning experience and a joy. We had so much help getting it up and running and have thoroughly enjoyed having that addition.”

She is proud of the business and always includes the fact that the downtown pharmacy sports an old fashioned soda fountain upfront. The other stores include the Wood’n’lace Boutique (a women's clothing store), Comforts of Home (a home decor boutique) and The Stork on Main (a children’s boutique).