Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Drug Emporium Longview, Texas

Here is a quick post from another Drug Emporium, this one from Longview Texas. 


This store has many retro features, check out the Thank you sign in the middle of this photo.
Here is the vitamins plus section which carries many vitamins and herbal supplements. This part of the store has been one of the busiest in my most recent visits to the store. 

11 comments:

  1. Interesting, thanks for the photos. I remember shopping at the Breck Rd. and FM 1960 W. Drug Emporium back in the 1990s when we had their stores here in Houston. That one was across Breck Rd. from North Oaks Mall and was located in a former Handy Dan hardware store. There is a 99 Cents Only store and an Anna's Linens that is using up at least some of that store space currently. I discussed more memories of the FM 1960 store in your Lafayette Drug Emporium post from last May. This store does not look like the North Oaks area 99 Cents Only store specifically, but it does look kind of sort of like some of the older Houston area 99 Cents Only stores like the FM 1960 and Jones Rd. location. Granted, Drug Emporium is not a dollar store and 99 Cents Only does not have a pharmacy, but the stores look a little bit similar.

    It's hard to tell how similar the layout of this store is to the old FM 1960 Drug Emporium. I could see some possible similarities in the Lafayette photo, but it's harder to tell with this one even though you have a lot more photos of this store. That said, this store is certainly a throwback to the early to mid 1990s aside from the Vitamins Plus department. The concept of large discount pharmacies itself reminds me of the early 1990s with Phar-Mor and Drug Emporium. The store's aisle signage, which seems similar to the former FM 1960 store, is certainly vintage 1990s. The "Thank You for shopping with us" sign may be even older than the 1990s. Perhaps it came from the former tenant of the building (if there was one). It looks like it may have been a grocery store before, but I really can't tell what it might have been. I don't know what kind of grocery stores they have in Longview specifically. Perhaps it was a Brookshire's store, but I don't even know if they had/have those there. That's a total guess.

    Big drug store chains like CVS and Walgreens tend to be a reliable source for things like blank audio and VHS cassettes even though some other stores have stopped selling those items. I wonder if Drug Emporium has any of those items. It would be fitting if they did given the retro look of the store.

    I don't know when you last visited this store, but I'm guessing that it was around Christmas time based on the decor in the photos. If not, Drug Emporium may be even more overly enthusiastic about selling Christmas goods than Sears. Speaking of which, did you get a chance to visit the Longview Kmart during your visit or visits up there? If so, did you get any photos of it? I believe the Longview Kmart is of the modified mansard slice variety. I find the mansard slice Kmarts to be quite fascinating. Of course, any Texas Kmart is bound to be fascinating simply due to the limited number of them.

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    1. The store is about the same size as the former 1960 store, but the aisles are very long and don't leave much space in the back or the front of the store. The area has Brookshires stores, but I am not sure about the history of this store. It is remarkably clean and well stocked as you can see in the images. I did not see much in the way of electronics at the store, but I may have passed right by without noticing. The night I went to this store there were not many people so I was able to get many more photos here than in Lafayette. I did in fact make my visit to Longview towards the end of last year. I visited the Kmart and Longview Mall on my trip so you will see posts about these properties. The Longview Kmart was one of the busiest Kmart stores I have been to in a long time, but I was able to get some good photos of most of the store.

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  2. This store was built by Drug Emporium new. It has never been anything else. At the time it was built, the Super 1 Foods next door was not planned, but a Super Saver Wholesale Warehouse was. Because of this, the land that Super 1 sits on has a specific 'no pharmacy' deed restriction, and is the only Super 1 Foods not to have one.

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    1. Drug Emporium was smart to include a no pharmacy clause for the property. Pharmacies are the big moneymakers for drugstore chains and if you can keep your next door neighbor from opening up one, then you get all of the sales. One thing that Drug Emporium stores should add to their stores are the fast health clinics like many of their competitors have done. Having a pharmacy in the same building as the clinic will increase sales and help them to compete against the larger chains.

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    2. I wouldn't wait for the clinics. This operator only owns 7-10 stores. Their niche is the Vitamins Plus section of the store.

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  3. And yes, Longview was the second major town where Brookshire Grocery built stores. There were 5 at the height of their popularity:

    #4, 1800 S. High St., remodeled into Super 1 Foods #632 (combined with a S. Mobberly store circa 1980)
    #5, 2505 N. Judson Rd., now Surplus Warehouse (moved from Chapparal Plaza in 1981)
    #11, 1217 E. Marshall, demolished for Super 1 Foods #612 in 1992
    #22, 400 block of Pine Tree Rd. at Loop 281 (Combined with #45 when moved to old Super 1 #606)
    #45, 3354 Gilmer Road, a former Food Lion. #45 has also been located at 2401 Gilmer (now Harbor Freight and Boot Barn) and at Gilmer and Loop 281, which was initially a Safeway, then Super 1 Foods #606, then #45. The building was demolished when Brookshires moved out in favor of an Eckerds/CVS and Chick-Fil-A.

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    1. Brookshire's is slowly growing but could become a major competitor if a chain like Randall's looks to get out of the Houston or Dallas markets and sells to Brookshire's. There are a few Brookshire markets in the outer suburbs of Houston, but adding stores in 30+ locations all at once would give them a good market share if they look to expand even more.

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    2. I wonder if you are confusing Brookshire Brothers with Brookshire’s. It’s very confusing, but they are two separate grocery chains. At one time they were the same (or related at least), but they have been separate for a long time now. The one that has stores in the outermost Houston suburbs/exurbs is Brookshire Brothers I do believe. The closest Brookshire’s to Houston is probably their Palestine store, but I’m sure that most would not consider that to be the Houston metro area.

      Thanks for the information, Scott Greer. I think I’ve read your posts on Groceteria. It’s nice that you’re posting here too. I’m actually a little surprised that the Longview Drug Emporium wasn’t something else before as the building looks like it might have been a repurpose job, but that isn’t the case.

      According to Wikipedia, Drug Emporium stores are currently franchised. It is interesting that these stores have maintained such consistency from the 1990s given that they may have different owners, but perhaps the same owner owns the stores in the region. It's hard to say.

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    3. The Brookshire stores you've seen in Houston are a part of Lufkin-based Brookshire Brothers. It's an interesting story. Brookshire Brothers was started by several members of the Brookshire family in 1921 in Lufkin. In 1929, Wood T. Brookshire took the Tyler stores and formed what is today known as Tyler-based Brookshire Grocery Company, parent of Brookshire's and Super 1 Foods. Brookshire Brothers and BGC do not overlap with their namesake stores. As an example, Longview, Marshall, Kilgore and Overton have Brookshire's. Carthage, Tatum and Jacksonville have Brookshire Brothers. That's pretty much the divider in that area.

      Brookshire Brothers recently acquired David's Supermarkets out of Grandview. There are a few overlapping stores, but they will remain David's. The non-overlapping stores will be rebranded.

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    4. I did not know there was a difference in the two stores, both look almost identical. I have seen Super 1 Foods stores in several areas but I have never been inside of one. Thanks for clearing that up.

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    5. What made the Brookshire's/Brookshire Brothers relation even more similar until recently was that they both carried the same store brand from Federated called Hy-Top. Brookshire's and Super 1 Foods changed in 2010 to Food Club, which is now being phased out in favor of the Brookshire's brand.

      I'm not sure that Drug Emporium is still franchised or not. The original company no longer exists as it once did. These stores may just have bought the name.

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