Thursday, January 7, 2010

K&B Drugstores New Orleans Louisiana



K&B on Judge Perez in Chalmette just before the sign was pulled down.

This is the final installment of the New Orleans retail of the past from my collection. If anyone is interested in submitting their own Louisiana or Texas articles please leave me a comment. Katz & Bestoff or better known as K&B drugstores was another piece of New Orleans retail that was taken over by another company and re-branded. The K&B that I remember was similar to the drugstores of today such as Walgreens or CVS. K&B started off as a small store in 1905, and grew into a large chain of around 200 stores across the southeastern US. K&B had all kinds of merchandise from fishing lures to saw blades to store branded ice cream. K&B also had a bunch of store branded medicines, liquor, food products, and almost anything that they could put their name on. In my opinion K&B was one of the most well branded retail stores. Everything was purple; the store signs, newspaper ads, the labels on the store branded products, the shopping carts, the uniforms, and the walls of the store. All of their stores also had those old school metal mini doors after entering the main doors to the store. K&B was one of the few chains that customized the inventory to match the customers needs at each different location. I still have some products and expired coupons from the K&B stores that have lasted for twelve or more years after the re-branding of the stores to Rite Aid. Nearly all of the film my family had developed when I was young has the K&B stamp on the back and we would shop there weekly. Even after 12 years of K&B vanishing; many people in New Orleans still do not go to Rite Aid. One of the reasons is because Rite Aid carried Pepsi only in their stores and removed Coca-cola from their stores in a city that loves Coca-cola. Coca-cola was brought back eventually and this was not the only thing that Rite Aid changed. Rite Aid had huge clearance sales in each of the K&B stores and drastically reduced the inventory in the stores. The stores were cleared of the distinct items that K&B had and no other drugstore carried such as bicycle tires. Yes K&B had almost everything you could think of inside of their stores for a reasonable price and they were my favorite New Orleans store. K&B, DH Holmes, Maison Blanche, Campo, and Schwegmann's were all New Orleans retail to me. The loss of these stores to takeovers took away some of the uniqueness of New Orleans, but there are many small businesses that keep the city flavor going strong. New Orleans based restaurants are the only chains that seem to survive outside of Louisiana. Popeye's, Cafe Du Monde, Copeland's, The Italian Pie, Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers (Baton Rouge), and many other restaurants have expanded outside of Louisiana with great success.

This is the Arabi location just before it was re-branded as a Rite Aid.



I wonder if Rite Aid will accept this coupon that expired in 1986?

12 comments:

  1. It's important to know about these kinds of issues about K&B Drugstores New Orleans Louisiana especially if we're involved with it.
    Hope reciver updates, thanks for your help

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  2. I wish they would bring back K&B ice cream and the K&B purple pencils!

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  3. I still have several K&B items including an empty ice cream container and the natural wood pencils with a K&B stamp on the side. I also have an empty K&B Tequila bottle, and some other items. These are not for sale and will be set up in the future in my house.

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  4. I actually took some pics of an old K&B logo that was left on the back door of a now rite aid in my hometown. I'm from Lake Charles, LA.

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  5. I'm from Lake Charles, we had several K & B stores as well, now the only remains that we have are of the backdoor of a now Rite-Aid. The logo was never removed from the backdoor.

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  6. If you would like to send the photos over I can add them to the blog for a future article. Southernmalls@gmail.com, thanks.

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  7. Awesome! I've just e-mailed them to you. The location is on W.McNeese Street. This is the only piece of K&B that the lake area has left.

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  8. OMG I LOVE AND MISS MY K & B. I wish my store could come back. My K & B card was my first credit card.

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  9. There was also a K&B in Prien Lake Mall back in the day

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  10. Do not know where to start! From going to the fountains when young, to working for them for 15yrs running their most successful store, to being in charge or the entire liquor dept for Rite Aid after the acquisition for 4 states, finally being a DSM in metro N. O. For Rite Aid during those HATE Rite Aid days!

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  11. I almost got a job with Rite Aid in Metairie just after the changeover in 1998. I accepted another job offer instead that was closer to my house. I still preferred to shop there over the other drug store chains because most of the employees continued to work after the changeover.

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  12. Worked in Louisiana and Texas as a store manager for K&B, loved the chain, you could pick up the phone and talk to Mr Bestoff if you wanted, a real family atomosphere. Had almost 20 yrs in when they sold to Rite Aid, and then Rite Aid shut the Texas stores down. Loved KB because they let the manager actually manage his store unlike all the corporate cookie cutters of today.

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