Friday, June 06, 2008

Goodbye to the Little Guy

My Good Neighbor Pharmacy has closed its doors forever. We're distressed and irritated. I believe strongly in supporting the little guy. I don't like shopping at national chains because they eat up local businesses, are impersonal, crowded and noisy. I want my money to stay in my community. Unfortunately it is getting more difficult to buy locally. I'll admit to purchasing books from Barnes and Noble when I could go to Kings English or Sam Weller's, two local main-stays.

Olympus Pharmacy has served us well. They were "small enough to know you, big enough to serve." With all our ailments, we purchase a ton of prescriptions and go to the pharmacy several times a week. All the employees call us by our first names and we knew all their's. They know us personally. They know Bill is a long distance cyclist. They know I'm a genealogist who hates hot weather. They even know our dog Annie who waits patiently in the car while we get our prescriptions. We can ask questions about the drugs and Kerry always gave us intelligent information. We trusted him. Everytime we were at Olympus Pharmacy, we'd see neighbors and old friends. It was the same with all the customers at Olympus. We've shopped at Olympus Pharmacy for eleven years. Before that my mother bought her prescriptions there for at least thirty years. When she was elderly, they delivered to her house. We're sad to see the end of an era.

A major dispute brewed for several years in Holladay, Utah between Olympus and Holladay Pharmacies against the Big Guy--"Walgreens." A number of years ago, a large building on the corner of Holladay Boulevard and Murray-Holladay Road was torn down. It had been the home of many different businesses over the years. (I'm fifty-eight and don't remember a time when the building wasn't there.) The final tenants of the building were Video Vern's, Pardner's restaurant, a dance studio, and a furniture consignment shop. Those local businesses are all gone, forcing residents of Holladay to get their videos at Blockbusters or Hollywood Video. Again the big guys won over the little guy.

The corner where the building stood has remained vacant for years. Residents of Holladay learned that Walgreen's had bought the land and was going to build there. There was an outrage in the neighborhood against this national chain. Holladay already had three pharmacies--Olympus, Holladay and Rite Aid. No one wanted Walgreens to build on the vacant corner. Petitions were placed in the businesses surrounding the lot and thousands of people signed declaring opposion to Walgreens.

Quietly Walgreens worked a deal with the owners of Olympus and Holladay Pharmacies. The Big Guy convinced the owners to combine their stores and sell out to Walgreens in a deal they couldn't resist. Olympus Pharmacy closed its doors on May 31 and moved across the street to the Holladay Pharmacy building which is now Walgreens. Instead of two independant local pharmacies, Holladay now has two national chains--Walgreens and Rite Aid.

I purchased my first three prescriptions at Walgreens on Wednesday. It's just not the same.


gramakas said...

I hate seeing how Holladay is changing. I used to ride my horse down to the "demolished building" when I was a kid. There was an Albertsons where Video Verns was and a "5 & 10 cent-kind of store (not a Ben Franklin but like it) next door. I used to tie up my horse and buy penny candy and ride home enjoying my treats! I remember walking down to the Cottonwood Mall with Marty and one time she got sun stroke. Even good old Olympus Jr. High is not the same! So many good memories; thanks for sharing with us other native-Holladayers! I know I feel your pain.

TravelinOma said...

I remember getting sun stroke! Wow!

I agree that it's sad the little stores are being wiped it. It's homogenizing the whole world.