White Cross

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socalgrocer

Post by socalgrocer » 10 Feb 2007 20:01

I don't know if I still have it but back around 1998-99, Rite Aid posted on its website a table of about four dozen chains they acquired over their entire corporate history, with the last I think is Thrifty-Payless Inc.

socalgrocer

wnetmacman
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Post by wnetmacman » 11 Feb 2007 00:31

Rite Aid ate up many through the years, including K&B and Big B (Harco) in 1997. Neither of these has been highly successful. K&B was a major New Orleans staple, and they just couldn't bear not to have the purple bags they had. A case in point; Lafayette, LA had 6 K&B stores, but now only has 3 Rite Aid stores, keeping the three newest stores.
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Post by rich » 14 Feb 2007 12:07

Drug Fair was acquired by Gray Drug of Cleveland (which was owned by Sherwin-Williams) in the 70s and then the whole operation was bought by Rite-Aid in the 80s. Gray operated discount stores for many years and their drug stores tended to sell a little bit of everything, which was pretty common until about the 80s. Walgreen stores used to be a bit like this, too. The extreme example was Cunningham Drugs, out of Detroit, which sold televisions and various other things that no one ever seemed to buy. In the days before Sunday store openings and late night hours every night at department stores, people relied on drug stores for many things they couldn't get anywhere else, at odd hours. Seasonal items like lawn chairs and easter candy are legacies of this, along with light bulbs, stationary and the like. Drug stores were among the first businesses to have refrigeration, which why they got into ice cream and soda fountains.

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Post by TheQuestioner » 14 Feb 2007 20:15

rich wrote:Drug Fair was acquired by Gray Drug of Cleveland (which was owned by Sherwin-Williams) in the 70s and then the whole operation was bought by Rite-Aid in the 80s. Gray operated discount stores for many years and their drug stores tended to sell a little bit of everything, which was pretty common until about the 80s. Walgreen stores used to be a bit like this, too. The extreme example was Cunningham Drugs, out of Detroit, which sold televisions and various other things that no one ever seemed to buy. In the days before Sunday store openings and late night hours every night at department stores, people relied on drug stores for many things they couldn't get anywhere else, at odd hours. Seasonal items like lawn chairs and easter candy are legacies of this, along with light bulbs, stationary and the like. Drug stores were among the first businesses to have refrigeration, which why they got into ice cream and soda fountains.
Interesting to hear about how drugstores ended up with so much general merchandise in them, it makes sense that they would have served as pseudo-convenience stores back then when everything was open only "business hours". I never really thought about it that way. I wonder when this kind of change in stocking began. From what I can tell, drug stores in the 1920's were mainly pharmacies, with the soda fountain as the only non-medicinal product or service. Of course, the presence of the soda fountains grew out of the whole "health tonic/patent medicine" craze of the late 19th century. I would guess the continued growth of fountains into the 20th century was also partly due to the temperence movement, as an alternative to bars. Ice cream probably crept in via the root beer floats and eventually overtook the fountain service. Anyone know of any drug chains that still have ice cream, or soda fountains at all? I know that Rite Aid has Thrifty ice cream counters in territories that they entered by buying Thrifty Drug, but I haven't seen this anywhere else in years.

Anyway, while the early branching off from drug sales seemed to take a gradual course, I have no idea when drug stores started to be more like 5-10 stores. This format seems to be common by the 60's, and was beginning to be phased out by the early 90's. I personally liked having places like Drug Fair as "alternate" five-and-dimes, they often had a great selection of toys, models, and puzzles. These days the only drug chains I see with a similar mix of groceries, general merchandise, and pharmacies are Longs Drugs, some Walgreens, and certain older Rite Aids that were previously other chains.

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Post by lvkewlkid » 19 Feb 2007 02:42

White Cross Drugs doesn't seem to be local, we have one in Las Vegas, but now its affiliated with a co-op like United Drugs.

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Post by rich » 19 Feb 2007 06:43

White Cross is a co-op and has been around since the 60s or 70s. It's not very big and it doesn't operate everywhere. They probably include stores that never use the White Cross name to survive.

Upthread--the Gray Drug in Florida was the Cleveland-based chain. They'd been there since the 50s or 60s and it makes sense that the stores would have become Rite Aid, just like the rest. Don't know about Cunningham--if the stores sold everything imaginable and had very high Rx prices, it was probably part of the Detroit-based chain.

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Post by Groceteria » 19 Feb 2007 10:58

rich wrote:White Cross is a co-op and has been around since the 60s or 70s. It's not very big and it doesn't operate everywhere.
There was a small White Cross chain in Greensboro NC in the 1960s, based around a former Walgreens store downtown. Revco purchased the stores there, probably about 1970.

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Post by terryinokc » 19 Feb 2007 11:54

There were three or four White Cross drug stores around Augusta, Georgia in the late 1960's and early 1970's. One was downtown, and the other two I remember were in shopping centers with Roses.

Not sure if they were related to the White Cross stores in NC that David mentioned, but these stores also became Revco in the early 70's.

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Re: White Cross

Post by carolinatraveler » 20 Nov 2008 23:18

I can add that White Cross locations all over the Tidewater, VA area, as well as Richmond and Durham were all part of the same group that operated in Greensboro, and these all coverted to Revco about 1969 or so. Several of the Tidewater stores were Dart Drug in my earliest childhood recollection, but I don't think White Cross bought them, but rather took over vacant sites that were set up for pharmacies. White Cross was the lowest of the low end discount drug stores.

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Re: White Cross

Post by buckhead » 20 Nov 2008 23:45

Add the White Cross store at Holly Hill Mall in Winder, Georgia to the list. It operated fro a few years and then became a Revco sometime in the 70's, IIRC. The location is currently a Dollar General Store.

I only recall one Gray Drug in the Orlando area...I believe it was off of John Young Parkway near Silver Star Road. I don't believe it operated under that name for long.

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Re: White Cross

Post by Groceteria » 21 Nov 2008 11:52

I finally spent the 30 seconds required to do a Google search and found this from Funding Universe:
In 1972 the firm acquired vitamin manufacturer Private Formulations Inc., and yet another chain of drugstores. In a stock trade valued at $81 million, Revco acquired the 163-store White Cross chain, and imposed on the stores the parent's name and format.
Apparently, the chain was based in Ohio and founded by Donald Robinson in the 1960s, based on a few other things I read. I don't really have time to look more today, but a Google search on <"white cross' drug store revco> revealed a lot.

Seems the current co-op is unrelated to the chain that most posts refer to, as are the San Diego and Las Vegas stores.

Side note to carolinatraveler: if you were in the Triad in the late 1960s/early 1970s, you may remember the spectacular fire in downtown Greensboro when the White Cross (formerly Walgreens) burned down (EDIT: It was 1970.). I was really young and was on the way to the Carolina Theatre with my dad to see a movie, and we got sidetracked by the fire.

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