Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Drug Wars ~ New Dealer In The 'Hood

It used to be where a pharmacist would open his own drug store shortly after graduating pharmacy school. Names that come to mind include Peoples' Pharmacy and Howard's Drugs which were nearby while Sandy's drugs was perhaps two miles away. All independents. They had huge magazine selections, hundreds of greeting cards, enough candy bars to rot an elephant's tusks, soda fountains and lunch counters, and Sandy's was noted for its huge selection of pipes and tobaccos. One local chain, Eckerds was in competition with another, Walgreens, but the independants had no trouble serving the neighborhoods.

Eckerds got taken over by Super-X while Walgreens went on a take-no-prisoners expansion trip. As an example, Howard's Drugs built a brand new building directly across the street from their old location, putting them right next door to a supermarket that had been there for decades. A few months later the grocery closed down and a Walgreens moved in. Howard couldn't compete with their prices or advertising budget. As soon as Howard was out of business Walgreens closed the location. It's now an auto supply store.

As Walgreens, one by one, drove the independants out of business Super-X's expansion continued until they were taken over by the CVS Pharmacy chain. Essentially we're down to two drug retailers. There's Costco, of course, but they don't have a store every couple dozen blocks. The one thing I do like about The New World Order is that at least in the newer stores, if you know where something is in the store near your house rest assured that it's in exactly the same place in every other store in the chain. That's a huge conveniece!

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