We poked into CVS a couple days ago and the main difference we saw with Bartell Drugs is that CVS sells spirits. Prices were similar across a sampling of beer, shampoo, and medicine. The store front looks to be well restored:
It seems pretty clear they are in direct competition with Bartell Drugs and Walgreens, and Bartell Drugs has been stepping up their game in response (see the new refrigerators). There were only a couple people in CVS, about 10 in Bartell Drugs, and easily over 100 in QFC with all the checkers having long lines. The neighborhood really needs a second grocery store more than it needs a fourth drug store or a 50th restaurant.
Still, we’re having a hard time getting upset about CVS moving in, and we get upset pretty easily. We don’t know that Bartell employees are treated better or worse than CVS employees, and we can’t get worked up about the financial plight of the Bartell family (Bartell Drugs is privately held). The building being restored (at great cost) is clearly a plus. Addiction to drugs is a serious problem and the drug rehab delray can help victims of drug abuse.
According to a drug treatment center, the amount of drug abusers has increased over the years and it is important to control the amount of drug abuses. There are places like rehabs near san antonio that have professionals that know exactly how to treat such issues.
It seems inevitable that either Walgreens, CVS or Bartell Drugs will fail to make money and shut down in the next few years because many opiod rehab have been spotted around this area. Walgreens and CVS benefit from parking lots, Bartell Drugs benefits from being adjacent to Daybreak Philadelphia rehab and being most established. We’ll stick with Bartell Drugs as we see no reason to go to CVS or Walgreens and we like the Bartell employees, but we’re not about to launch a protest campaign. However! Other people are launching a protest campaign, specifically Kylie Zane hopes you’ll boycott CVS:
Dear Wallingford resident,
On the 27th, the CVS on the corner of 45th and Meridian Ave opened for business and this deeply saddens me. It replaces the Moon Temple, a bar and Chinese restaurant and the Tully’s Coffee, founded in Seattle in 1992. I’m not the only one disappointed by the arrival of a huge nation-wide chain drugstore. As one commenter put it on our neighborhood site Wallyhood.org:
A single-story commercial building at one of the most vibrant intersections in Wallingford? This isn’t the suburbs, and this design sounds totally inappropriate for the site. Check out the website of the developer–they seem to do nothing but suburban big box and fast food. If this development happens, it will be an embarrassment to the neighborhood.
Luckily, developers listened to our concerns that a new building would be unsightly in addition to being unnecessary, and kept the historic building. However, if you drive by the CVS, you’ll see that this is little consolation, as they’ve remodeled with 10-foot high windows that glow blindingly fluorescent at night, showing off towering aisles of generic products.
My complaints aren’t merely aesthetic—the main problem I have with the CVS it that we don’t need it. Bartell Drugs, a mere block away, has served our community as long as I’ve been alive. It is family-owned, local to King County, and has a pharmacy (as well as a policy of building their shelves lower than eye-level, so that you can see other people as you shop). If that’s not enough, there’s Pharmaca in Wallingford Center, and if that’s too pricey, there’s even a pharmacy in the Walgreens on 45th. We do not need another drugstore, especially not one that replaced three businesses, destroying the neighborhood’s diversity and unique character.
Why is this such a bad thing? As Jane Jacobs put it in her revolutionary urban planning text of 1960, The Death and Life of Great American Cities:
The self-destruction of diversity can happen in streets, at small nodes of vitality, in groupings of streets… Whichever form the self-destruction takes, this, in broad strokes, is what happens: A diversified mixture of uses at some place in the city becomes outstandingly popular and successful as a whole. Because of a location’s success, which is invariably based on flourishing and magnetic diversity, ardent competition for space in this locality develops. The winners in the competition for space will represent only a narrow segment of the many uses that together created success. Whichever one or few uses have emerged as profitable in the locality will be repeated and repeated, crowding out and overwhelming less profitable forms of use… Thus, from this process, one or few dominating uses finally emerge triumphant. But the triumph is hollow. A most intricate and successful organism of economic mutual support and social mutual support has been destroyed by the process.
We don’t have to support the homogenization of our vibrant neighborhood. I urge you to join me and my family in refusing to support the new CVS. As a national chain they don’t need our business like our other drugstores do. While it likely won’t make a huge financial difference to them, it does send a message that we support businesses that need us and have been here for us for decades, and that we don’t support businesses just looking to expand into a new city to extract profit.
It is up to us to ensure that our neighborhood grows in healthy ways that promote diversity, and not homogenization. As I walk through the neighborhood, I see many types of buildings with diverse purposes, from the beloved Musashi’s sushi and the popular Molly Moon’s ice cream, to the Guild 45th and the Sea Monster lounge, to the 24-hour QFC. Of course, we can’t forget the schools and parks that tie our neighborhood and families together—the list goes on and on and on. Let’s keep it that way.
That space could have added 6+ small businesses/restaurants plus housing on top.
The fact that they have parking will only make traffic congestion on 45th worse.
The most positive thing I can say is that the Tully’s security light no longer shines into my bedroom window annoyingly, so, uh, thanks for that, I guess.
What a waste.
“Waste” is the right word, it is terrible that it isn’t retail & commercial plus several stories of housing occupying the whole lot (hopefully retaining the brick exterior shell on the ground floor). But my understanding is that that was all about the owner, not CVS. (And the fact that Seattle taxes improvements rather than land value.)
Bartell’s is locally owned. Walgreens and CVS are national chains…Easy choice!
I can see supporting or not supporting businesses for many different reasons, but why is local ownership one of them? What difference is there in local Fat Cats reaping profits vs. many thousands in a publicly traded company? Both businesses employ local people, and source locally when it makes good business sense to do so.
Count me in as a local business supporter. It would be great if Bartell’s had parking but if the choice is between Bartell’s and CVS or Walgreen’s (yes, Pharmaca is too pricey), it will be Bartell’s every time!
So, according to you, @umlaut, there is no difference between Walmart and PCC? You don’t mind seeing the exact same choices in every region in America (and increasingly, Canada and the world)? You have no problem with Big Box profiteers putting small mom-and-pop operations out of business left and right?
Both Bartells and CVS are “Big Box”.
No. Go to California or Wisconsin or Atlanta and tell me how many Bartells you see. Then tell me how many CVS or Walgreens you see. There’s a difference.
And no, Starbucks doesn’t count as local, since they’re a global predator.
The difference is that profits stay local. CVS and Walgreens are paying for far-off corporate offices and national marketing, draining revenue our of the area. Bartells keeps more money circulating in the region. Plus, local ownership is more sensitive to local concerns. But mostly, local is better to reduce cash drain. Smaller is better for similar reasons, particularly the idea of being locally responsible.
Fruitbat is 100% right. It keeps money circulating locally, which helps Seattle be more self-sustaining.
My point is the sole criteria for selecting a store should not be “Local!”. What if CVS were local? Does the war cry then switch to “Smaller!”? If the argument is purely about local economy then I should clearly support Starbucks over Caffe Vita.
If CVS were local then there might not be a “war cry.” Besides “local” is not the sole criteria. As many others have stated, we now have 4 drug stores within blocks of each other when there are many other businesses that we need.
My problem is that people speak of Bartells as some local mom n’ pop that we need to save. They are not m&p. They are a regional Big Box with over 60 stores. Pharmica is not even a mom n’ pop..they have over 30 locations and growing. Bartells will need to compete with the bigger chains on service and selection. If they can’t, they will get muscled out. I agree that we probably don’t need 4 drugstores on 45th..but the big chains obviously don’t hold that belief.
But this isn’t the free market idealist’s competition on service and selection. Walgreen’s entered into this with the fairly obvious intention to starve Bartell’s out – they expect to be unprofitable, but they think it will hurt Bartell’s worse than it will hurt them, so it’s cool. CVS saw that and jumped into the game thinking they could do the same to both of them. We may enjoy some benefits from this “competition”, until it’s over. Or we can decide we don’t want to participate in that kind of thing, and steer clear of those two.
One thing that I can say about Bartells being closer to mom&pop is that I actually have one of their corporate people as a friend on Twitter. He lives in the area. We became friendly because of photography, after I needed customer service. I doubt I’ll have that with anyone from CVS corporate offices. Not because they aren’t humans with interests, but they are so big they would never bend over backwards for someone with a $20 problem. Yet that is something you’ll get with the much smaller and local Bartells.
It has always been ridiculous to have another drug store in W’ford. I wonder if Walgreen’s has enough business to survive? I will always go go Bartell Drugs.
I am surprised the Walgreen decision makers decided this location was good for them. If Walgreen’s does not do well, will they decide to leave? It is such a big chain, that I am sure they have much more financial flexibility to have a loser.
We don’t need this store. A good bakery would be nice. I don’t think I want a 2nd grocery store. I wish it were still the Food Giant! I accept progress, but this is not progress.
Because more of the money they make stays local and helps the local economy.
This was supposed to be in reply to Umlaut
I would like to see this study done on Big Box regional to Bigger Box national chains. I expect the resulting differences would not be as dramatic.
I totally understand how Kylie FEELS. But, with this logic, is Kylie Zane boycotting QFC Because it is a part of a huge National Chain, Kroger which gobbled up our local Fred Meyer in Addition to QFC? Remember Food Giant? I don’t hear anyone complaining of the Huge lighted windows that QFC placed on top when they remodeled after taking over……
This kind of “boycott” rhetoric is the silliest part of our otherwise wise liberal nature. We demand cheap prices and high quality, but rail against the very thing that allows for that, which is economy of scale and fierce market-driven competition.
Actually, I do boycott qfc. I used to shop mostly at food giant and occasionally at PCC. Now I shop mostly at PCC and occasionally at Kens market on Greenwood. Yes, I pay more. Yes,I’m fortunate to be able to afford to put my money where my values are.
But it’s perhaps it’s not fair to compare a boycott of qfc to CVS. There are four drugstores in Wallingford but only one grocery store.
yes, i boycott QFC, because their produce in non-organic crap and there is nothing else in that store that appeals to me.
when you say, “we” demand cheap prices and high quality, but “we” rail against economies of scale and market-driven competition, you should realize you are probably lumping together different people into that term, “we.”
and i’m afraid you’re mistaken if you really believe market-driven competition leads to high quality. it leads to less diversity of choice, and the choices are invariably cheap plastic crap constructed with an exploited labor force and unsound resource extraction methods.
boycott is the only tool the citizenry has in the “market-driven” economy. even the right-wingers will tell you that. why do you oppose it?
Runyararo, “WE” as the society as a whole. I’m glad you are “you”, and not “we”, but there are more “WE’s” than “YOU’s”!
I’m a we, too, you!
In the time QFC has been there, I believe I may have bought something there but once. Not because I recall any crime against Food Giant, but rather it was a friend who called for this boycott after the demise of the View Ridge Red Apple.
But they’re different situations. QFC didn’t shoulder its way into the neighborhood as an unwanted-by-anyone 4th grocery, hoping to drain some of its competitors’ pockets with a war of attrition.
The Jane Jacobs quote was interesting, I wish I had the full text on hand but one can find a page with more of it, albeit still abridged. I’m pretty sure the case she’s making isn’t exactly relevant here, inasmuch as we’re unlikely to end up a district dominated by pharmacies.
QFC “shouldered” its way into the neighborhood by buying longstanding and local icon Food Giant. There was more uproar over that than over the CVS by far. There’s a reason why there is a big “WALLINGFORD” sign atop the store instead of the usual QFC sign. QFC, of course, did a lot of good things (hiring all the old Food Giant workers, remodeling and expanding the store and its selection) once they got here, but the neighborhood didn’t exactly put out a welcome mat for it.
Nor did I, but my point is that the circumstances of their arrival were very different.
I did take a liberal reading of the Jacobs, you’re right that I don’t think we’re going to become a neighborhood of soley pharmacies. What I hoped to draw out in using that quote is rather the larger loss of diversity, in its various manifestaions (repitition of the same use being Jacobs specific example), that is the subject of that chapter. I don’t know that Jacobs could have forseen or commented on the specific global/ local dichtomy and discourse going on here.
Would have quoted the whole book if I could; unfortunately I don’t think many people would have finished the letter if I did. Glad you looked into it for yourseld!
It seemed to me that she deplores concentration of one kind of activity – like all offices, or all bars – and consideration of her analysis in more detail would be very timely related to the proposed new comprehensive plan and its urban villages.
Jacobs hated single-purpose zoning (100% residential, 100% commercial etc) which has becoming orthodoxy in her time and still endures as common practice:
“The district . . . must serve more than one primary function; preferably, more than two. Mixed-use districts that provide housing, offices, shops, and other services, attract a far wider range of people, while spreading out their activities over longer periods of time. Consequently, the streets and sidewalks of mixed-use districts are more active and safer both day and night, while being less congested at peak periods. The most effective mixture of uses are fine-grained: each block should bring together different uses, and not be dominated by a single activity, no matter how thriving.”
OK, but the segregation of use she actually goes on about isn’t so much a result of zoning, it’s the natural but fatal attraction of a successful location. Her examples of nightlife districts and office districts in New York have obvious parallels in Belltown and central downtown here. The intermediate residential densities that bring urban problems but not urban resources, the housing that only childless yuppies can afford, it’s all there.
And it’s a cornerstone of the comprehensive plan: the urban village institutionalizes that rush towards the successful location.
Jeff, my point was that you seem to be implying some sort of hypocrisy or inconsistency, but often it is because “we as a society” is not a homogeneous group who all prioritize the same things equally.
I wasn’t referring to myself personally.
Also, it is a paradox of life that sometimes we believe in two contradictory ideas at the same time. It’s okay. It happens.
Runyararo, isn’t that the truth, two contradictory ideas as the same time! My exact point. You can’t have your cake and eat it too……
sorry, but our points are not the same. you say you can’t have your cake and eat it too, whereas i’m saying you can.
I boycott QFC because they took over Food Giant. Used to shop at Safeway, not travel to Ballard for the Ballard Market.
I’m more in agreement with Eric than Kylie. The building looks far better than I anticipated, and when we talk about the death of diversity I can think of many more examples of ugliness on 45th.
I stopped regularly going to Bartells after some pretty bad customer service issues in their pharmacy. I go to Pharmaca and it’s great. No parking is an issue for Bartells too.
I’m not boycotting Walgreens per se, but year ago when I lived in Greenwood I would occasionally go to Walgreens to buy condoms with my husband as they were the closest location. Kid you not, no matter what brand we got, they always had to do a price check and they would not be discreet about it. It was pretty hilarious actually and it happened repeatedly. I wonder if they still do that. Anyway, it’s not our first choice.
Your story cracked me up, thanks for sharing! I could picture this scene from any number of movies or sitcoms, lol…
I had such misinformation from Pharmaca.. not been back.. tried it 3 times.
To implied observer.
I am so sorry about the bad customer experience you had at the pharmacy. Please do tell management about your experience. They are such good folks, and I am sure they would like to know it. My experience has been outstanding.
Pharmaca is a nice complement to the neighborhood and to Bartell Drug.
On another matter, relating to Bartell Drug.
Bartell’s took such a big hit last year, with the tragic death of their manager , riding home on his bicycle. He was mowed down by a drunk driver who has a long history of drunk driving. I have not seen any negative change in anything, but I sure feel sad for the family and for the employees about this tragedy.
In the ideal world, I’d like Walgreens and CVS to decide to leave.
Oh I submitted customer input on their web site. Never heard back. I wrote a negative Yelp review too. The particular employee was a repeat offender, and one day I woke up and said to myself: Why am I coming here? Pharmaca is great.
At the various Bartell Drugs stores that we have patronized, the employees always seem relaxed and friendly. My guess is because they have a union contract and probably decent pay/benefits, as well as recourse for any issues with management or in general.
The stores are usually well laid out and well lighted.
And to top it off, they have some pretty good sales on basic items, like their frequent (and current) BOGO deal on house brand items.
Head and shoulders above their competitors we have occasionally (but not recently!) visited in Seattle.
Thank you CVS for restoring the building’s facade. It looks beautiful.
But please, the large, neon-red CVS signs at 45th & Meridian are inappropriate for our neighborhood. It’s not as though you have to get the attention of drivers zooming by on a road like Hwy 99. How about toning down the signs?
My biggest concern has always been that they demolished the original 1920s brick commercial building. I would walk by during that phase of construction feeling like a piece of history was gone forever. They kept the building’s cornice with the building name and date and put it back on top….but now it’s just a false pastiche. No problem with the business itself, I think they could’ve actually restored the building as it stood.
As someone deep into a horrible remodel of a 1910 house, I now understand that it’s cheaper and the end result is better if you actually just demolish and start from new.
That way you have a true Earthquake resistant building that is safer than trying to put band aids on an existing 100+ year old building. It’s too bad that’s what’s needed but I’m finding out the hard way!
At least they preserved the outside, that was really expensive to do, and a nice gesture for the neighborhood.
In addition to being locally owned, all of Bartell’s suppliers and distribution is from local companies – CVS and Walgreen’s are supplied by their distribution centers in the Midwest – they do nothing to support or stimulate the local economy. CVS owns Caremark a drug benefit company and will aggressively start going after that business too.
I try to support local companies because the money is more likely to go back into the local economy than to a headquarters hundreds of miles away. A locally-owned company has office and administrative staff locally. It is more likely to hire local advertising, accounting and legal firms and participate in giving locally. Though, I don’t know about Bartell specifically.
I also agree that the owner did not listen to the community desire for a multistory building and skirted the Design Review Board by calling the construction a renovation (thus avoiding further DRB oversight and adherence to their interpretation of the Neighborhood Plan). This may not be CVS’s responsibility, but from what I saw at the Design Review Meeting, CVS was leading the design of the building.
The building looked pretty good…until CVS turned the lights on. I’ll never set foot in there.
Maybe it is wishful thinking that the competition will be limited to Walgreens and CVS. There are probably many newcomers to whom both national chain stores are just like home to them.
I gave up on Wallingford Bartell a couple of years ago. After several years of complete incompetents, we just couldn’t take it any more. I would rather have stayed with a locally owned business but after local management continually ignoring the issues, I’m happy with CVS location, respecting the old architecture, customer service and parking for the occasion we need to drive.
Good luck to CVS.
I agree that we need a second grocery store (and not a whole paycheck one) more than another drug store. You also forgot a fourth drug store….Pharamca (the only one who has a compounding pharmacy).
I did mean Pharmaca.
Also, since I live on the fringes of Wallingford, I’ll go to the Bartell’s about Whole Foods since the parking is better. But, I do shop for groceries at the QFC in Wallingford since it’s cheaper and closer.
The article mentions that there’s 4 drug stores, but Pharmaca is different enough in offerings that it’s not a direct competitor for the other 3, so I didn’t include it in comparisons. I should have made that more clear in the article.
I will never ever set foot in CVS even if it was the last refuge on earth and the zombies were after me.
I would personally use CVS as a zombie refuge, and would hope that the blinding lights would act as a sort of deterrent, driving the zombie hordes toward the dimmer buildings in the neighborhood in search of brains.
Not sure I’ll shop at CVS, though.
– I love that they’re a regional business, circulating revenue in WA.
– I love that they sell lots of local products and smaller company brands – Theo candy, etc. And a rack of postcards.
– I like our Bartell employees, and plan to continue shopping there to help support their jobs.
– I like that our Bartell doesn’t sell spirits. If I need that I can go to QFC.
– I love that CVS does not sell any cigarettes nor tobacco products!
– I’m from the NY / NJ and have a long history of shopping at CVS stores. CVS is ubiquitous there. My memories are that CVS is bland and boring. They sell big national brands. Lots of stock but not a wide selection. Uniformity is their character. I haven’t visited our new CVS, but I expect it will look like a NJ CVS, just like our local Taco Bell looks like a NJ Taco Bell.
– CVS parent company, CVSHealth, has 11 members on its Board of Directors. Three of those are women. http://investors.cvshealth.com/corporate-governance/board-of-directors
– CVS Executive Leadership has 14 people. Three of those are women. https://cvshealth.com/about/leadership
– I rarely shop there. Not convenient. Walgreens seems less bland than CVS. But still very boring.
– 3 women out of 11 members of Walgreens Board of Directors. http://www.walgreensbootsalliance.com/about/board-of-directors/
– Walgreens Senior Leadership lists 11 people. Four of those are women. http://www.walgreensbootsalliance.com/about/senior-management/
You miss Moon Temple? You must have been an underage drinker in search of air conditioning.
Oh wait, that was me. Haven’t been in for…40 years. I was always surprised it was still standing.
I am surprised at how much money CVS sunk into tearing down and rebuilding the brick facade. It reminds me of how much money Tully’s sank into making a living room that didn’t make money.
I am sorry, but these are not good reasons to boycott CVS.
I would take a respectable national company over a local company with a bad reputation any day of the week.
What makes you think Bartells has a bad reputation? I’ve heard more people say they’ve had good experiences at Bartells than bad. And personally, my experience at Bartells has been great. I grew up with CVS and will never shop there.
Sorry, wasn’t intending to say that. I think Bartell’s is a fine company. Just making a general statement on the fact that “being a national company” is pretty low on my list on issues I have with a company.
We’ve been shopping at the Wallingford Bartell’s for over 25 years, and have never had a bad customer experience there.
The staff has always been very pleasant, and while they may not have the selection of the larger Bartells stores, they’ve got what we’re looking for.
Thus, we won’t be shopping at CVS. Why leave a local company that’s done good by you for decades?
If you don’t like the tenant or thought there should be housing, blame the landlord! I think the restoration looks great!
The whole point of the process was the design of the building, not CVS. CVS does not own this building and the building will be there long past CVS. To me the design review process the city put in place worked. The original design which was a tear down rather than a restoration was discarded and I think the restoration of the building itself looks good.
In Burien CVS had a huge old Sequoia tree chopped down to make room for its store.
I am a professional historic preservationist, and any of you who think that what they did is a “restoration” misunderstands the term. They demolished the building down to the structure, rebuilt the entire building, then stuck the original cornice back on as an olive branch.
My understanding is the reason for the demolition was that it was necessary for seismic codes. They initially wanted to take a lighter touch.
I am shocked that SeaDanRun finds the facade attractive and that this store looks “far better than [impliedobserver] anticipated”! You must have really expected the worst. I can’t believe any architect decided that the decorative style typically found on top of classic ornate Greek Ionic column belongs (in white stone, no less) atop a brown/tan checkerboard diamond pattern. The aesthetics are disgusting.
Only large chains can afford the cost of rent in these new buildings.
Well done Kylie for quoting Jane Jacobs! A brilliant thinker and writer.
Can I say that the staff at CVS are SO NICE and professional. The place is very clean and well organized. I like Bartells as well and I have been going there maybe 25 years. I intend to shop both places.
Hell, I like Walgreens too and sometimes that is more convenient for me as I return from work on Stone.
It is all good.
My company’s health insurance pretty much forces us to go to CVS for medication. It’s their “preferred vendor” or something, but a recent medication was going to be more than twice as much anywhere but CVS. This was a $150 medication, so much harder to vote with my dollars. Insidious, I think.
This is because CVS owns Caremark, a drug benefits company – how this is not an anti-trust violation is beyond me. Shenanigans!!!!
Preference for local business isn’t exactly a good virtue for Seattle, since Seattle growth is mostly depending on huge global companies with headquarters in the Seattle area. It’s better to have Seattle trade its expertise with other cities of different expertise, as opposed to everybody trying to “shop local”.
Supporting variety and supporting better business are the reason we like many local coffee shops over Starbucks. If we want to support Bartell over CVS, it’d be more likely to be successful if the reasoning is like that also, as opposed to the “shop local” concept.
Oh, lord . . . not sure why I’m replying. I am happy they retained the cornice (and that was a result of feedback from neighbors who responded to Seattle DPD’s request for comments, so keep on commenting!). The building is pretty ugly, overall. I’ll be shopping at Bartell’s.
and Bartell’s looks better?
Mind blowing, isn’t it? Whether you believe it or don’t, two contradictory facts can , indeed, be true at the same time.
CVS looks kind of sad these days… so many employees standing around waiting for a customer to come in. But that won’t make me go in there. Loyal to Bartell’s.
In addition to hating the fact that this corner is wasted on a 1.5 story building, and that all of the construction & noise didn’t result in a business the neighborhood needed or wanted, dealing with loud 4am deliveries is enough to guarantee I’ll never shop at this CVS.
Bartell rules and always sells weird crazy Seattle stuff. CVS is basically the whore of nations. I’ll never shop there. Walgreens I will shop at, but it’s always empty.