Archive for the ‘pharmacy’ tag
This space, to the right of Barnes & Noble on the lower level of Richland Mall was the mall's drugstore, Eckerd Drugs.
I'm trying to remember if the original Richland Mall had a drug store and I don't think it did. Eckerd's came in with the enclosed Richland Fashion Mall stage, and may have ended there. I don't think it made it to the Midtown at Forest Acres stage, but I'm not sure exactly when that started, and I refuse to call the mall that anyway.
It certainly did not make it as late as the Rite-Aid buyout of Eckerd's. I'm not sure exactly when it closed, but I think it was the early 2000s. By that time, Eckerd's had already seen the writing on the wall which required corner stores, and had moved the Trenholm Plaza store to the current corner-equivalent location that RIte AId on Forest Drive now occupies. The Richland Mall store had no drive-through, and could never have one, and while the parking was as close to strip-mall parking as Richland Mall gets, it still wasn't as good as a real strip-mall.
I find this Rite Aid closing interesting because it happened so soon after the conversion from Eckerd's, so in 2007, they paid a lot of money to redo all the signage and branding, interior and exterior, and then in 2009, closed the store.
I think it was a classy touch to transfer the store's perscriptions across the street to their competitors at CVS rather than sending customers to a Rite Aid further away. I hope the building can be re-used, it's still fairly new and appears quite nice.
I wrote about this storefront before as Parkland Pharmacy. CVS was the successor to Parkland and made what was a rather interesting and quirky pharmacy into yet another chain drugstore.
I'm not a big fan of CVS in general -- for some reason they never seem quite as nice as Rite-Aid or my preferred store, Walgreen's. They do have a nice "no scent at all" liquid laundry detergent though, and this store was fine for what it was.
They have left Parkland Plaza for the new corner lot across the street opened up by the demolition of the Cinderella HoJo. When I took these pictures, there was no indication of what, if anything, would come to occupy this spot. Parkland Plaza is already hurting; they certainly don't need a longterm vacancy here.
UPDATE 24 June 2009: The move is complete, and the CVS is now open at the old HoJo site:
UPDATE 29 Oct 2010 -- To date nothing has moved into the CVS spot at Parkland Plaza:
Continuing my recent theme of defunct Eckerd stores, this one on Broad River Road at the intersection with Saint Andrews Road (and across from the old Steve's #1 Sub Contractor sub shop) was, if I recall correctly, one of the newer stores. It has the "modern" corner-lot siting with a drive-through. It sits, in fact, catty-cornered across the street from a new-ish CVS of the same vintage, proving the site is viable for drugstores -- I suspect that if Eckerd's in general hadn't had problems and had held on to this store a few years more, Rite Aid could have done a viable business there.
UPDATE 8 March 2011 -- It's now a Dollar Tree:
I suppose I shouldn't do two Eckerd Drugs posts so close together, but writing about the one on Taylor Street made me think about the one at Dutch Square, and I already had the pix, so why not?
The Eckerd's at Dutch Square is the only Eckerd's I know of which had a lunch counter. Even at the time Dutch Square was built in the early 70s, drugstore lunch counters were on the way out, but I suppose they figured they had a captive audience and plenty of foot traffic, like an old downtown, plus there was no food court at the time (I believe Chik-Fil-A, Annabelle's and a cafeteria were the only restaurants in the mall).
The layout of this store was a bit unusual. I have taken the pictures catty-cornered because that was the way the store was oriented. You can see that the current tenant, The Dress Barn has an entrance on both the main up-and-down corridor of the mall and on the cross corridor leading to a mall entrance on the Dutch Square Boulevard side of the mall. So did Eckerd's, with the lunch counter being situated crossways such that if you walked in through the main corridor entrance and out through the cross corridor entrance, you would have walked across the whole lunch counter space parallel to the counter.
Between the lunch counter area and the main store proper, there was a silver turnstile which only allowed passage in not out, which I always considered an unfriendly touch, but I suppose it helped with shoplifting since there was no store checkout on the lunch counter side (the store entrance with registers was on the cross-corridor near the mall door).
There was also an Eckerd's in Columbia Mall, and I'm unsure which store packed it in first, but I'm pretty sure the Dutch Square one did not make it out of the 1990s.
From what I understand, Eckerd was long an arm of J. C. Penny, which was looking to dump the thing for years before it was able to. That notwithstanding, Eckerd went on a building spree in Columbia a few years before the chain was finally taken over by Rite-Aid.
This included building a number of new stores which went under even before the take-over was in the works, and this building, at 1720 Taylor Street (between the train tracks and the old Big-T) was one of them. My memory is that it closed down almost as soon as it opened, though that may be something of an exaggeration. I'm not sure if it was caught in the chain's problems, or just not a viable location. Dollar General proves retail can work in that spot, but Eckerd's was a bit pricier.
UPDATE 15 May 2011: Changed closing date in post title to April 2000 based on commenter Andrew's research.
When I think of "real" pharmacies in Columbia, I have a little mental list. If you were born a bit earlier or lived in another part of town, your list is probably different, but on mine are Campbell's Drugstore on Forest Drive, Liggett's in Trenholm Plaza, Cedar Terrace Pharmacy on Garners Ferry, The Big 'T' on Taylor Street and Parkland Pharmacy.
Parkland Pharmacy was on the other side of town from us, so we didn't get there often, but the times we did made an impression on me. My memory is that it served as much as Cayce's General Store as it did a pharmacy, and the aisles were crammed with all sorts of general merchandise. Also, and this is what drew my attention as a kid, it was a "contract" Post Office, and the back wall was lined with personal Post Office boxes. My aunt in Fernandina had a P.O. Box rather than home delivery for all of my childhood, and I always associated them with exotic places. The idea that we had Post Office Boxes in Columbia, and at a drugstore! was very strange to me. I don't think the store had a lunch counter or soda fountain, though it was about the right vintage for that.
Eventually, the same factors that brought down all the other landmark pharmacies in town brought down Parkland. I recall going there a couple of times in the 80s and thinking that it was operating under diminished circumstances, and finally they took the plunge and let CVS buy them out (or at least I assume that's what transpired). I don't know what happened to all the people with PO boxes there. I presume they were let to keep the same box number at one of the Cayce POs. If not, it will have been a mess!
As I noted recently, it appears that the CVS in the old Parkland Pharmacy slot will be moving. I don't know what will take its place.
UPDATE 29 Oct 2010: The CVS moved some time ago, and to date the old Parkland Pharmacy slot in Parkland Plaza is vacant:
UPDATE 9 September 2011: Changed closing date from "1980s" to 1995 based on commenter Andrew's research.
For most of my life, "The Big T" as Taylor Street Pharmacy was known was the only 24-hour drugstore in Columbia. That said, it was far from the closest drugstore to my home, and a 24-hour drugstore is something you (hopefully) don't need that often, so I was probably only there a dozen or so times over the years.
The store, which was on Taylot Street above The Township and below Baptist Hospital, was unaffiliated with any chain (not unusual at the time), and I recall it as having rather a hodge-podge assortment of merchandise aside from the perscription department. I think one of the times I went when I was a kid, it impressed me as Lachicotte's at Pawleys Island set down in Columbia (though without the floats and fishing tackle). I do recall that they had a spinner rack of paperbacks, something I would always check in any store we visited, and some toys. I can't recall if they had a soda/short-order counter, but I would suspect that they did given the size of the store and that it was a standard drugstore fixture back in the day.
"The Big T" monicker was not just a common nickname for the place -- it was embraced by the store and used in their advertising, to effect, I think, since even people who didn't go there felt friendly towards the store.
In the end life became more difficult for unaffiliated drugstores, and most of that era (Campbell's, Cedar Terrace, Parkland Pharmacy..) are now gone. With the decline of downtown, the Taylor Street location became something of an obstacle as well, and the store finally sold out to CVS, who continue to operate it today, under a much reduced schedule (it apparently is not open on Sunday at all much less 24/7). It appears to me that apart from a revamp of the corner entrance to add CVS branded architecture, the main building is pretty much intact, at least from the outside.
UPDATE 14 March 2009: Added 1963 Yellow Pages ad.
UPDATE 31 March 2009: Added 1970 Yellow Pages ad.
UPDATE 10 March 2011 -- Some of the original Big T signage is visible during the current work on the building:
UPDATE 15 May 2011: Changed to closing date in the post title to 1994 based on commenter Andrew's research. (Oops, set it to 19994 the first time..)
Phar-Mor was a discount drugstore, though perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it was a mini-department store (think Walgreens, but larger) that filled perscriptions. This store on Harbison, next to the Barnes & Noble, is the only one I'm aware of in Columbia (I also know of one that was in Aiken at Aiken Mall). At one time, the Phar-Mor chain appeared to be a category beater, growing faster and bringing in more money than any of its competitors. Unfortunately in the aftermath it emerged that the whole thing was a giant crooked pyramid scheme with the founder cooking the books right and left. The chain went into bankruptcy, and the founder went to jail. I believe the chain struggled on a while after this store closed, but finally went totally under in 2002.
Ross Dress For Less has occupied the spot since Phar-Mor closed, and seems to be doing well. The strip mall seems to have regular turnover of smaller storefronts, but luckily has been able to hold on to (or in this case replace) the anchors.
UPDATE 26 Sep 2010: I've added the full address to the post title. However, while the current address appears to be 287 Harbison Boulevard, my older sources give the address as 272 Harbison Boulevard, so apparently there has been some re-numbering within that plaza.
UPDATE 20 March 2011: Updated the closing date based commenter Andrew's research, also added the store number "0229".
"Liggett's", as we called it, was in Trenholm Plaza more or less where The Fresh Market now is.
Liggett's was a Rexall drugstore, and like most drugstores, carried a good bit of general merchandise. Unlike most drugstores today, it also had a lunch counter, which, unlike Campbell's Drugstore across Forest Drive, boasted booths as well a counter seating. Before the invasion of Columbia by burger chains, Liggett's was one of the most convienient places in Forest Acres to have lunch. We didn't do it that often. I now eat out every day, but growing up, it was more like once or twice a week (almost always for Sunday lunch). I suspect we went to Liggett's when my mother was carting both of us kids around shopping. My clearest memory of eating there is the day my mother made me try ketchup, something she probably came to rue, since after that, I wanted it on everything!
Liggett's also had a now forgotten piece of equipment called a tube-tester. This was a complicated science-fiction looking console studded with tube sockets with a flip chart up above. You would look up your tube on the flip chart, put it in the correct socket, flip the indicated switches to the correct presets, let the tube "warm up" and then hit the test button. If the tube were good, a needle on the test meter would rise into the green zone. If it were bad, the needle would stay in red or amber. I was always pulling discarded radios and TVs from people's curbside trash on the assumption that I could fix them if I replaced the right tubes. There was actually something to this, but since we had several perfectly good radios and a working TV, my parents were generally not inclined to spring for buying new tubes when I found a bad one, and since my weekly allowance was $0.50, I wasn't often in a position to buy one. It was still fun testing though.
I'm a little hazy on exactly what happened to Liggett's. I have some idea that it might have been totally bought by Rexall, dropping the "Liggett's" name and then may have been bought out by Eckards, which definitely did eventually have a store in that general part of Trenholm Plaza. I think Campbell's outlasted it, and there was some sort of drugstore with a lunch counter that lasted at least into the late 80s (on Garner's Ferry), but I think all of the drugstores with lunch counters are gone from Columbia now. Am I wrong?
UPDATE 17 Nov 08: Thanks to commenter Dennis for the graphic of a tube tester. Try doing that with your Ipod!
UPDATE 14 March 2009: Added 1963 Yellow Pages ad.
UPDATE 30 April 2013: Added picture of the Rexall logo from an old sign displayed at the Antique Mall on Broad River Road.
UPDATE 11 October 2013: Here is an amazing picture of the old Trenholm Plaza, with Liggett's. Thanks to commenter Dennis for digging this up!