Home » Retail »South City » Currently Reading:

QVS Pharmacy replacing McMahon Ford at Gravois & Chippewa

April 26, 2010 Retail, South City 15 Comments

ABOVE: QVS Pharmacy to replacing McMahon Ford at Gravois & Chippewa
ABOVE: QVS Pharmacy replacing McMahon Ford at Gravois & Chippewa

Other cities have had the pharmacy wars for years.  We’d been spared the competition between Walgreen’s and CVS but now our corners are their battleground.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "15 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    It's a pretty big site – are there plans for any other businesses?

    I'm not sure of the point of this post. A new drug store structure is replacing an old car dealership. Do you view that as good, bad, or just a point of information?

    No, it won't do much for creating traditional urban design, and it replaces one kind of surface parking with another. But it does bring the 21st century version of the general store to a neighborhood that could probably support one, and it's certainly more urban than the new QuikTrip across the street. Plus, reinvestment is something the city needs to survive, and I'll take more drug stores over more banks any day – at least drug stores have more activity.

    • huh? says:

      I can't believe I just read a comment advocating more drugstores in the City. There is a Walgreens on almost every corner. At Gravois and Hampton, there are dueling Drugstores (Walgreens & CVS) neither of which is urban in design.

      I don't view the influx of more chain drug stores as a good thing, not the ones that have been built recently anyway

      • JZ71 says:

        What would you like more of? Another gas station? Fast food? Rent-to-own? Payday loans? IKEA? McMahon Ford was moving out and the building and site would've been vacant. Option One would've been another occupant for the existing structure – see Kingshighway for how well that's working. Option Two would've been (and is) tear down and rebuild. This not the central business district. Customers will drive and will expect free parking (and our zoning requires it). “We” may want people to walk to a front door in an urban storefront. Unfortunately, most customers (voting with their wallets) want parking close to the “front” door, even if it's back, where the parking is, not an urban experience for their lazy butts . . .

    • Douglas Duckworth says:

      CVS and Walgreen's are not investment but rather blights on our built environment and shake downs stealing our revenue with TIF or “improvement districts.” Oh and there is a Walgreen's up the street across from the SSNB.

  2. Chris says:

    The reason why we oppose this is that most likely, one of the two stores will go under, leaving a vacant store front that will require tax dollars to police, clean up and maintain while the national chain skedaddles out of town. This isn't healthy competition, this is cutthroat attempts to run one competitor out of business. Expect a vacant store at this corner in the near future.

    • JZ71 says:

      CVS tried to enter the Denver market before I left, including building, and even stocking, a new store near my house that never opened. It's now a Walgreens; it replaced a Sound Warehouse that was a Peaches that moved into a vacant grocery store. Cities are not static. McMahon Ford didn't leave town, they moved over to Kingshighway into a vacant Pontiac dealership. And yes, neither CVS nor Walgreens are building the types of “urban” buildings we want. They're building the types of buildings that attract customers and the city will allow them to build. Personally, I'm glad that we're seeing new investment, even/especially in a down economy. Would I like to see better design? Yes, but I'm as “guilty” as many other people – I do shop at both CVS and Walgreens. And two, the real loser in this “competition”/incursion won't be Walgreen's, it'll be the neighborhod pharmacy and that St. Louis chain, the Medicine Shoppe. Remember, CVS and Walgreens don't just sell drugs, they're Circle K's and 7-11's on steroids. They ARE the corner store for many people in the city, especially those that don't have easy access to grocery or discount stores. We may not like their aesthetics, but they do serve a need – just ask those downtown residents who WOULD like to see a CVS or Walgreens nearby!

  3. mj314 says:

    More power to them. Any business is better than an empty lot.

  4. MP says:

    The key is in requiring that these structures fit into the urban landscape and speak to the local scale and architecture as neatly as possible. This would be a much easier task if the city had design standards on its major commercial corridors.

    • JZ71 says:

      So, the solution is “requiring that these structures fit into the urban landscape and speak to the local scale and architecture as neatly as possible”. THIS is the “local scale and architecture”: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=e… Explain just exactly how a new CVS would NOT “fit”?!

      I get it. We'd all like a walkable urban experience, like the CWE or much of the rest of the city in the 1920's. IF we could convince the other 90%+ of the population of the wisdom of this vision, including having to give up the convenience (real or perceived) of their own vehicles, then you might have a chance of getting stricter design standards adopted. But until that happens, we're going to be stuck “putting lipstick on a pig”, with a few more trees in the surface parking lots and a few more unused show windows facing the sidewalks nobody uses . . .

      • Douglas Duckworth says:

        You don't need to convince the population — much of which does not vote. Convince a majority of aldermen.

        • JZ71 says:

          Aldermen can stop development, they can't make it happen. Successful businesses succeed because they give their customers what they want. If the majority of a store's customers want free parking, the retailer will make every effort to provide it.

          If you want to see boxes set in parking lots go away, then you need to convince a LOT of people that looking for on-street parking, or god forbid, taking public transit or walking, is actually a better answer than just getting in their car to drive over to Kwiki-Mart or Burger Queen. Yeah, these folks may not vote for politicians, but they vote, every day, with their wallets.

          The fundamental problem is that most retailers, especially those building new structures, don't want to build urban solutions, they want to build what they “know” will work. If a city or an alderman says no, odds are strong that a business will simply look elsewhere. I can name three chains that have come into the St. Louis region recently, but have not built anything in the city (Culvers, Chipotle and Five Guys). I don't know any of their specifics, but I can assume that a combination of unfavorable demographics and the local political climate make their options look a lot better in suburbia.

          Chains are risk averse. New, local entrepreneurs have fewer resources, so by their very nature have to be willing to risk more. Can businesses succeed in “less-than-ideal” environments? Absolutely. But if you can minimize those risks you can control, you increase your odds of success. Customer is king. Get them to buy more in urban environments than in suburban ones, then guess what, retailers will shift their focus to urban environments. Until then, we're going to be forced to choose, over and over, between suburban-style reinvestment or no reinvestment at all . . .

          • Douglas Duckworth says:

            Aldermen can introduce design guidelines and zoning changes making this a better project. Citizens can make that happen.

            I doubt that the chains you cite are holding out from coming to the City due to political climate. We bend over backwards for development. That's our problem.

          • JZ71 says:

            I agree with both points, but I also believe that we are own worst enemy – customers are increasingly choosing chain pharmacies over local neighborhood ones, for whatever reasons, and the chains are assuming that what they offer (newer stores, more parking, larger inventories, longer hours and drive-thru windows) is/are what customers want.

  5. Douglas Duckworth says:

    Yet another should be urban intersection bites the dust!

    Hopefully the same thing happens at Cherokee and Jefferson so that we can complete our suburbanization.


Comment on this Article: