On at least two, and possibly three occasions in the recent past, we have gotten excited about a construction project in our neighbourhood, and been horribly disappointed when the resulting business turned out to be, not a restaurant or some other business useful to us, but a drugstore, often within steps of another one. It just happened again, where a 24 hour Walgreens opened within 200 yards of a Rite Aid.
I know all about the rise of drugstores during Prohibition thanks to the excellent Last Call, but what could possibly be driving this trend today, when the supermarkets and Targets of the world already offer the same services, but with fresh produce and power tools to boot? And moreover, the non-core drugstore inventory seems to be a collection of random stuff (beach umbrellas next to Pringles) that wouldn't ever merit a trip, especially now that no-one brings their film there anymore (kids, ask your parents).
Turns out that the cutthroat competition is driven by a number of factors, including an aging population, a desire to compete with the supermarkets, and the search for the "coveted right-hand corner location." But as the end of retail approaches, it feels like a desperate, not very creative strategy. And despite the spiffy new drugstore at the corner of Estes and Franklin, I have no desire to venture inside. Maybe if they add live entertainment.