Saturday, May 30, 2015

When I arrived... Kosirog Pharmacy, at the corner of Augusta and Western, on Saturday afternoon the light was all wrong for the pictures I wanted to take. (I'd been meaning to return there ever since discovering it while taking my dog, Stewart, to his therapy appointments up in Logan Square.)

Contrast the picture at top with this one I took of Margie's Candies up the road back in January. I was stopped at a light in the late afternoon at the time and just happened to capture it at the perfect moment. Serendipity.

Sunset or shortly after would have been optimal for that awesome neon Rexall Drugs sign, but, as I've mentioned before, knowing Chicago as I do, this place could fall to the wrecking ball before I got another chance to take a good shot.

I mean, come on, when was the last time you saw a Rexall drugstore? And one that delivers, no less. And for free. And fast. Can that possibly be?

According to Wikipedia -- who else? (my emphasis):

The stores, having roots in the federation of United Drug Stores starting in 1902, licensed the Rexall brand name to as many as 12,000 drug stores across the United States from 1920 to 1977. (The "Rex" in the name came from the common Rx abbreviation for drug prescriptions.)

In 1958, the Rexall Drug Company was the largest U.S. drug store franchise, with 11,158 stores (for comparison, there are fewer than 12,000 McDonald's restaurants in the U.S. today).

That's the year I was born!

By the late 1950s, Rexall's business model of unitary franchised stores, with each store owned independently by the local pharmacist, was already coming under attack by the discount chains, such as Thrifty Drug and Eckerd. These well-financed corporate entities were able to reduce costs with block purchasing and were focused on growth. By 1977, the value of the Rexall business had deteriorated to the point that it was sold to private investors for $16 million. The investors divested the company-owned stores, though existing franchise retailers were able to keep the Rexall name. These tended to be weaker stores, and few kept the name as time progressed.

Across the US, there remain some franchise retailers still using the Rexall name.
In the early 1980s, Rexall, headed by Howard K. Vander Linden, a third-generation Rexall employee, was the subject of a hostile takeover by an organization headed by Larry Brown. The company almost immediately slid into decline.

Be sure to check out Kosirog Pharmacy before it's gone!

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