Mary Kirkland, owner of Hilton & Company, has been named grand marshal of the 2021 Electric Lights Parade beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4. The parade runs south on State Avenue from Marysville Municipal Court to Comeford Park. Enjoy family-friendly holiday crafts, food vendors, seasonal photo selfie stations and a bonfire in the park between 4 and 7 p.m.
Kirkland comes from an influential Marysville business family. Hilton Pharmacy was opened in 1919 by her great-great-uncle, Jeffrey Hilton Sr. Her grandfather, Frank Hilton, owned Hilton Confectionery, located on 3rd Street where the Hair Bar is now. Another great-uncle, Ian Hilton, owned a gas station kitty corner to the stores. After the candy store burned in a fire, Frank Hilton opened a post-Depression men’s-only tavern, card room and sporting goods store that later became Rudy’s Recreation.
A University of Washington School of Pharmacy graduate, Kirkland began working at the pharmacy for her great-uncle, Jeffrey Hilton Jr. in 1969. She never stopped. She bought the business from family friend and mentor Clyde Lashua in 1984. In 2020 Kirkland sold off the pharmacy side of the business and relaunched as Hilton & Company, expanding the shop’s selection of gifts, décor and specialty goods.
A champion of small businesses in Marysville, Kirkland has long been a leader in the Downtown Merchants Association. “That’s where I live, business-wise, and it’s the legacy of our family,” she said. “I have always thought that we need to give back … to community, to our professions, and to our neighbors.”