Archive for August 14, 2008

Very sad news

August 14, 2008

I have some very sad news to report to my Utah and Tennessee family members. SFGate is reporting today that Longs Drugs has been sold to CVS pharmacy. A very important part of our formative years will soon no longer look the same when we go back for nostalgic visits to Countrywood Shopping Center. With a CVS sign, it will no longer be the store where I went to buy Volcano rocks for a quarter. It won’t be 3-year-old Brad’s destination when he escaped out of a window at naptime and took off across busy Treat Blvd. on his big-wheel (to be rescued by a good Samaritan). Sigh. goodbye Longs!

The Longs era is over.

The sale of Longs Drugs Stores Corp., the 70-year-old chain based in Walnut Creek, to the East Coast’s giant CVS Caremark Corp., spells the end for the last major regional chain drugstore in the country. After the transaction closes at the end of the year, CVS will slowly start converting the stores, and the Longs name will fade into retail history.

We’ve seen it before: Emporium Capwell. Thrifty Payless. Joseph Magnin and I. Magnin. But that doesn’t necessarily salve the frustration of consumers, who bemoan the loss of their neighborhood drug store, or the 22,000 Longs employees who face an uncertain future.

CVS officials say they have no plans to close stores, particularly in Northern and Central California, where the Rhode Island chain has virtually no presence. And, they say CVS intends to retain as many employees as possible and continue Longs’ tradition of catering to regional tastes in some locations.

But some Longs customers remain loyal. “Longs is the type of store in summer that’s going to carry 50 different types of sun hats and have a garden department. I would go to Longs to buy gifts because they had a lot of neat stuff,” said Kent Carthey, 65, of Pleasanton. “I don’t think I’d go to CVS for that.”

So, you have til the end of 2008, or maybe a bit beyond, to join me in one last pilgrimage. :(

Fare thee well!  [not my hands, obviously]
Fare thee well! (Not my hands, obviously.)