Miscellaneous Drugstore Chain Discussion

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Groceteria
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Miscellaneous Drugstore Chain Discussion

Post by Groceteria » 06 Feb 2007 14:46

This topic was from an earlier forum and contains info on mutiple chains. It is now closed. Please feel free to start new topics about these chains.
Last edited by Groceteria on 21 Jun 2007 13:43, edited 2 times in total.

mikeparkridge
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Post by mikeparkridge » 09 Feb 2007 19:44

There was one near where I live called Neighbor X and was called Super X before my time. I would of been too young to have remember what it was called at the time though I remember the logo.

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Post by Dean » 10 Feb 2007 03:03

Clark's Drug was a chain in Southern California. Not sure if it was out of the area or not.

It was ultimately acquired by Sav-On, then free-standing Sav-On sites acquired by CVS.

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Post by TenPoundHammer » 10 Feb 2007 16:39

There was Cunningham's Drug in Michigan and Ohio. The Michigan stores were sold to Detroit-based Perry in the 1980s, and the Ohio ones went to Gray Drug. Rite Aid bought out Perry in 1995... and ironically, bought out Gray Drug around the same time.

Incidentally, this buyout made for two Rite Aids in many small towns - for a while, Oscoda had two Rite Aids a mile apart (a "regular" Rite Aid that opened in 1990, and a Cunningham->Perry->Rite Aid convert from the 1970s). East Tawas also had two Rite Aids within a mile - one that opened as Rite Aid, and the other, a rather small former Gould's Rexall*->Perry->Rite Aid convert. This was a rather odd Rite Aid, laid out in kind of a "T" shape, and wedged in the middle of a small-town downtown district.

Of course now, it's hard to find an old-school Cunningham's (or even a late-era Perry) still operating as Rite Aid, seeing as Rite Aid has been swapping so many locations for new, cookie-cutter ones with drive thrus. Personally, I loved Rite Aid's 1980s-1990s prototypes, with the rainbow stripes on the side walls, and the orange and white tile floors.

* Gould's was another chain in Michigan. They had locations in East Tawas, West Branch, Mt. Pleasant, and elsewhere. I think Perry acquired them.

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Post by dth1971 » 11 Feb 2007 17:36

How about Dart Drug?

NewsLynne
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Post by NewsLynne » 14 Feb 2007 01:19

Ok, so the ones I remember the most are Dart and Drugfair.

Dart had a long history, and was bought out in most locations by People's Drug, which also has a long history. And then CVS swooped in and bought everything out.

I don't know as much about Drugfair. Looking at old newspaper ads it was more like a Woolworth's with a prescription counter. The store in Orange, VA was pretty big. They just sort of faded away when CVS came to town.

My family owned an independent "Cardinal-affiliated pharmacy" for years. At one point, Orange had three independent pharmacies plus Drugfair. Kind of boggling now.

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Post by Dave » 14 Feb 2007 07:25

NewsLynne wrote:Ok, so the ones I remember the most are Dart and Drugfair.

Dart had a long history, and was bought out in most locations by People's Drug, which also has a long history. And then CVS swooped in and bought everything out.

I don't know as much about Drugfair. Looking at old newspaper ads it was more like a Woolworth's with a prescription counter. The store in Orange, VA was pretty big. They just sort of faded away when CVS came to town.

My family owned an independent "Cardinal-affiliated pharmacy" for years. At one point, Orange had three independent pharmacies plus Drugfair. Kind of boggling now.
I remember Drug Fair (Drugfair? DrugFair? OK, for now, let's say DF) well. I never thought about it as a "Woolworth's with a prescription counter" but I suppose that was true. They were eventually acquired by Rite Aid.

Another Virginia chain was Standard Drug Co., based in and mostly in Richmond. They were eventually acquired by CVS as well. The one I went to as a kid had a basement where they sold toys, model kits, hardware, etc. On Sundays, they closed off the basement because that's where all of the stuff that couldn't be sold on Sundays because of the blue laws was kept.

Standard used to run a small ad in the Personal classified ads in the Richmond Times-Dispatch offering B&W film developing and printing for 79 cents - eight exposure rolls only. I had (still do, for that matter) a 1A Autographic Kodak that used 116 film, so I took advantage of the offer quite a bit.

What became of Cardinal? The ones in Richmond appear to be members of the Epic coop now.

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Post by terryinokc » 14 Feb 2007 12:56

In Texas there were Skillern's Drug Stores.......I think they were bought by a chain called Ward's Cut Rate Drugs.......Ward's Cut Rate came into Oklahoma City in the 1970's, and then later the stores were sold to Eckerds.

Super X was also here for several years in the 1970's---several of them adjacent to Woolco--they were later changed to Treasury Drug.

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Post by rich » 14 Feb 2007 21:21

Soda fountains date back to the 20s and were largely gone by the early-to mid-70s. the last one I saw was at a Thrift Drug in Southern Ohio in '72 or '73. I've heard that People's still had a few in DC until a little later than that. Prohibition may have been a factor, given the 20s, but also the limited availability of refrigeration and the need to make money from the investment created other incentives.

Drugs stores with a little bit of everything were probably a post-WWII phenomenon. Stores big enough to support this format went up in the late 40s in the first generation of shopping plazas. It's harder to find pre-war sites, although People's has a few stores or former stores in DC that date back to before WWII and they would have been too small to carry a lot of general merchandise. It may have been a consequence of going into the suburbs---the range of stores was rather limited in many places, even where you had a shopping center, and walking or public transit usually weren't practical options. Until the 60s, discount stores often were in odd places and there were only a few suburban department stores. Variety stores and grocery stores (usually in the same plazas as chain drug stores) often weren't open every night or on Sunday and they often closed earlier than a drug store.

One of the chains that pioneered a return to simpler merchandising was Revco, which started in Detroit in the 50s and moved to Cleveland after taking over the locally-owned Standard drug chain in 1961. Standard had had soda fountains but not the range of merchandise that Gray or Marshall's (a chain owned by Cunningham) had. Standard stores were smaller and Revco's limited assortment (with no soda fountain), discount prices and emphasis on prescriptions did well in their old stores and in stores that Revco built or bought in the Midwest and later in the Southeast. For a long time, Revco didn't sell magazines, let alone boxes of candy, cards, or laundry detergent. They added lines a little at a time esp. during the 70s.

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Post by krogerclerk » 14 Feb 2007 21:31

On the east coast, Fay's, Genovese, Thrifty, and Treasury Drugs have all been integrated into Eckerd while under JCPenney ownership. CVS then gets most Eckerd locations with the exception of the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic areas going to Jean Contu, owner of Brooks. Rite Aid will soon lay the Brooks and Eckerd banners to rest.

Revco acquired Arbor Drugs in Michigan, Treasury Drugs in the south, Lee Drugs in Alabama and southwest Georgia, Reed Drugs in Atlanta and environs(all part of the DC-based Peoples Drug chain), and Big"B" in the southeast, once the drug store subsidiary of Bruno's. CVS acquires Peoples and then Revco, bringing CVS to the forefront. CVS acquires freestanding Osco and Sav-on units from Albertson.

Rite Aid has acquired Alabama-based Harco, Thrifty on the west coast and now Eckerd/Brooks.

Walgreens and Longs have been the only major drug operators to not catch "merger fever" since the late 80's. They seem to be doing well by picking up alienated customers from the disappearing chains. Given its size, Longs may find itself in the midst of being an acquisition target.

Getting back to long gone drug stores, what became of Rea and Derrick, Acme-American east coast drug chain? I know American divested the chain, but who was the buyer? The chain was never integrated into Osco, Skaggs, or Sav-on.

In addition to SupeRx, the Kroger drug store division once included Gasen's in the St. Louis market, Sav-on in the NYC region, and Hook in Indiana and neighboring states. A variety of the chains ended up with former SupeRx and other ex-Kroger chains with Revco being the biggest buyer.

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Post by jamcool » 15 Feb 2007 00:21

Revco's lone outpost out west was Arizona-under the name of "Revco Drug Centers of the West". Apparently they had greater ambitions than just AZ (there were a few stores in NM & CO). They entered AZ by buying the Ryan-Evans chain in the late 60s-their stores were equivalent size to what Revco operated in the East (small).

What happened to Revco along with SuperX in AZ is an interesting saga. In the 80s Revco sold its AZ stores to a local investment group who renamed them RxPlus. At the same time Kroger sold its AZ SuperX stores to a group headed by Charles Keating's American Continental Corp. When Keating's empire crumbled, RxPlus got bigger by adding the SuperX stores. Then in the 90s RxPlus ran into financial problems. Osco picked up most of the stores. Now what stores were left over from the Albertsons-Osco combination are CVS..who bought Revco.

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Post by rich » 15 Feb 2007 01:32

combined operation. SuperX tended to have patchy coverage, because the stores tended to be next door to where ever Kroger built stores in the 60s or in old Kroger stores, that were replaced by super stores or greenhouses. In places like Cincinnati, where Kroger had invested heavily, they had good coverage. Hook at least filled in gaps in a core market.

SuperX was odd in that Kroger sold off stores at different times and kept stores in odd places. The Cleveland SuperX stores went to Cunningham, while Kroger was still in that market. OTOH, they kept a tiny number of stores in Chicago, long after Kroger had exited. I seem to recall that Revco bought the Hook/SuperX combine, but spun off stores particularly where there was duplication. They probably also wanted to get out of the lbigger stores (e.g., old Krogers) which would have been too large for their format.

Re: Fay's, at least some were bought by Walgreen. Those and Shop & Shop's Medi-Marts were just about the only acquisitions they've made.

Rea Derrick most likely wound up as Thrift (later Eckerd) or Rite Aid.

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Post by Dave » 15 Feb 2007 07:40

rich wrote:Soda fountains date back to the 20s and were largely gone by the early-to mid-70s...
There are a handful of independent drugstores in Richmond and the immediate area that still have soda fountains.
rich wrote:...I've heard that People's still had a few in DC until a little later than that...
When Peoples opened in Cloverleaf Mall in 1972, they included a soda fountain. That was probably the last one to open around here; the Peoples at Chesterfield Mall (now Chesterfield Towne Center) that opened in 1975 didn't have a fountain.

I recall a couple of new independent or local chain drugtores opening new stores in the late '60's-early '70's with fountains. A couple were more like small cafes.

As far as drugstores selling stuff other than drugs, that's been going on since the '20's, at least. One factor was probably that most retail was closed on Sunday, except for some drugstores, and their wasn't a proliferation of c-stores. Although we had a lot of blue law regulations on what could and couldn't be sold on Sundays, the drugstore in Virginia was where you went on Sunday if you needed something. Beer comes to mind, but other stuff, too

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Post by Groceteria » 15 Feb 2007 11:39

Dave wrote:One factor was probably that most retail was closed on Sunday, except for some drugstores, and their wasn't a proliferation of c-stores.
In parts off NC, the blue laws even affected c-stores. I was researching something else the other day at the library and came across an article on the first 7-11 in Winston-Salem, which mentioned that t would be closed on Sunday mornings between 9AM and noon. I'm not sure if drug stores were allowed to stay open during those hours or not.

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Post by rich » 15 Feb 2007 15:10

Part of my earlier post was cutoff. Re: Hook's & SuperX; Kroger bought Hook a short time (1-2 years) before selling off the combined operations. This was partly to shore up SuperX's patchy coverage.

Re: C-Stores. In many places those didn't really proliferate until the late 60s. The first generation of c-stores were "dairy stores", operated by a dairy, and selling a small selection of groceries, really cheap deli items, and often beer or wine (depending on local laws). High's in DC and Lawson's in Ohio were examples. In those days, dairy's were smaller and more numerous, so in the Cleveland area, you also had stores run by Reiter's, Euclid-Race and other small dairies, as well as stores run out of dairy plants, like the Hillside Dairy in Cleveland Heights. At least in Cleveland, the one big dairy chain, Lawson's, was largely a suburban phenomenon and grew-up with the first wave of post-WWII suburbs. I would guess that something similar appeared elsewhere. The drive-in dairy places in Southern California look like 50s, post-WWII suburbs products. Urban neighborhoods would have had small neighborhood groceries that filled this niche, particularly in Jewish neighborhoods or in the case of stores owned by onservant Jews. Short version--drug stores probably had limited competition from c-stores or c-store ancestors until the late 60s, which is about when their tendencies toward being all thing sto all people began to peak.

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