Walgreens stalking the corner of Eagle & Darby

Google Street view of Darby & Manoa

We totally stole this shot from Google Street View. We have no sympathy for Google either.

One day about 30 millionz yearz ago when we moved here to H-Town and promptly got our first case of raging poison ivy (Seriously, people, we need to monetize this township’s poison ivy. It’s industrial grade), we asked all around town for this miracle cure stuff called Zanfel that our neighbors swore by. No store had it, except Katz Pharmacy at the corner of Darby and Eagle Rd. Which meant I had to go in there.

Katz was one of “those” businesses. It was the kind of place that just looked… private, like not the kind of place non-townies just strolled into and browsed around. I’d never set foot in the place and now I had to endure the Awkward First Customer Silence of Northeastern corridor small town shops.

Southern shopkeeps save up their awkward silence for their own people, usually in efforts to pretend they don’t know their regular customer has a scalding case of herpes which he just generously handed over to the preacher’s daughter. Strangers, though, are overwhelmed with southern hospitality, good-natured questions and smiles.

Northerners at most will acquiesce a cold “Let me know if I can help you with anything,” which is basically saying, “We don’t know you and aren’t convinced we even want your money.” And then they give you the shoplifter stare until you actually flash some cash in their face (which they’ll still test with those stupid fake highlighter markers anyway). Katz Pharmacy seemed like exactly this kind of store.

But as more and more of this wretched rash spread throughout my system, I was desperate to try anything. I had to get the Zanfel quickly, so first I called Katz under the guise to see if they had any in stock but in reality it was to pre-announce my arrival in hopes to avoid all of the aforementioned awkwardness.

Whether it was my phone-in strategy or just the general ease of the pharmacists, my trip to Katz wasn’t painful. The only squirmy part of the whole transaction was me. Some of that due to my anticipation of First Customer problems but most of it due to poison effing ivy. The Katz people were very nice and told me all I needed to know about the Zanfel.

I haven’t actually visited there again but I’ve heard around town that people swear by the place. And it did seem like a small town place. Much like Jacob Low Hardware on WCP across from the McDonalds. And now these small town shopkeepers are feeling the heat of a major chain, again. I’m sure Katz Pharmacy wasn’t thrilled with the two CVS stores that went up in H-town, but at least they weren’t right next door. A new proposal has Katz quite upset.

The Katz Pharmacy has posted and is handing out the following flyer containing information about the chain store Walgreens wanting to install a drive-thru store at the corner of Darby and Eagle roads:

KatzPharmacySign

Here is the exact text of the above notice (there exist a few errors which are not [sic] corrected. You grammar nerds will just have to take your complaints to Katz Pharmacy):

Attention all Katz Customers

BE INFORMED

Walgreens Pharmacy proposes to build a store at the corner of Darby and Eagle Road directly across the street from Katz Pharmacy.

To do so they need several variances from Haverford Township.

-There is not enough parking for this building nor can that intersection support any more traffic than it already has.

-The proposed drive thru window will cause traffic jams both on Eagle and Darby Roads

-The visibility at the intersection will be reduced making it more dangerous for motorist and pedestrians

-Walgreens also wants an “open ended” agreement from the township which would allow them relief from any other zoning issues that might arise

-And finally and personally, Walgreens could have a devastating effect on Katz Pharmacy and its ability to provide service to the community which we have done since 1953

We need your support!

There is a meeting at the Haverford Township Building on April 3 at 7:45. Please attend and voice your opinion to the township commission

We Havertownies are pretty on top of stuff, but we didn’t notice the Sharro gas station at that current spot was going out of business. This is the proposed spot for the Walgreens store.

One thing is for sure, Havertown Grille customers would have free (sneaky) parking across the street (Is parking on Sundays still metered in Oakmont lot? But TBH we’d park in a Walgreen’s parking lot for the farmer’s market too. Screw them. They are a national big chain store, will probably not participate in the community much, and we have no sympathy for them. (Funny, though, we never abuse the WAWA parking. We lurrrve us some Wawas in H-Town.)

SOMETHING has to go in that corner, of course. We can’t have a big hole in the center of town. And from what we hear, that little plot of sidewalk greenery right on the corner of Darby & Eagle has been coveted by every fundraising entity in Haverford Township. We heard through the grapevine years ago that the gas station owner said he had to change his posting policy to a blanket “no” to everyone because too many organizations were asking. Sitting at the light on Darby to make a left on Eagle almost thrice daily made looking at whatever sign that was posted there into a Groundhog Day-esque nightmare. The emptiness of it now is peaceful. A chain store would probably have all sorts of corporate policies against signage from local groups…

But we can go all day about the pros and cons. We suggest you contact your commissioner about the proposal and any concerns about zoning. Walgreens should probably be treated like everyone else when it comes to zoning… but then again, what breaks have been issued to any of the Darby/Eagle Road ¬†businesses already? Let’s show up at the commissioners meeting on April 3rd to find out.

UPDATE March 23, 2014: The News of Delaware County’s article about Walgreen’s proposal to the Commissioners is here. We’ve also asked a Commissioner why the Walgreens doesn’t express interest in the boarded up gas station at the corner of Eagle and West Chester Pike.