Thursday, January 03, 2008

Westfield 'Meriden Square' CVS Closes After 36+ Years


Well folks, January is the most dead time of the new year. Like any new year, and winter itself, among the post-Christmas exhale it's a season of closures, a time to loosen the ol' belt for some companies.

Upon walking into a long-time tenant of the mall for a couple of towering $.99 cans of Arizonas, a simple sheet of computer paper said it all in a modest font/size sign at the gate. Thanking patrons for years of service, the chain urges its veteran customers to seek out the newer, other stand-alone stores in Meriden; on East and West Main Streets.

CVS inside the Westfield Meriden shopping mall, formerly known as Meriden Square, will have it's last day of sale on Sunday, January 6.


CVS OPENS AT MERIDEN SQUARE; OCTOBER 1971
(Photo: Hartford Courant)
CVS, a leading national drugstore chain based out of Woonsocket, Rhode Island opened its mall-side CVS store in 1971 in conjunction with the opening of the Meriden Square, a premiere enclosed shopping mall at the edge of Meriden, Connecticut whose since changed its name and size since by the Westfield Group. Back then, the chain was more humbly known by its real identity "Consumer Value Stores," but most widely known by its acronym, CVS.
Having survived a trio of decades plus in action inside Meriden's premiere mall, CVS retained itself as the mall's eldest tenant. By today's standard, its last remodel, which pre-dates back to its 1980's-rich facade of striped grays and reds shows in-and-out. Its indoor features are rapidly deteriorating and distressed, including rotting, falling-down ceiling boards in a bunkered, cramped setting apart recently replaced aisle signage.

The chain now has three locations in Meriden; two on East Main Street, and one on West Main, excluding the soon-to-be-closed mall location.

CVS, like many other chains including its rivals, want their own stores on their their own sites.

Stores that are larger, brighter, and located at bustling junctions are what they're after these days and polar what company strategy sought no more than ten years prior. CVS, like its counter Walgreens and two lessers Rite Aid and Brooks Pharmacy, have begun to thrive post-millennial, beginning a takeover of the long coming pharmacy chains including Eckerd, having many locations rebranded into Rite Aid stores. Other ghosts of past include Genovese and Heartland Drug; both of which faded by the mid-90's.

Keeping their competitive edge in these times with the mammoth Walgreens, whose been popping brand-new locations up left and right, CVS hopes to phase out many of its aging locations within strip and indoor malls for these new-aged, XL/big box-styled stores that are far from what most CVS stores have historically been about.


CVS at WESTFIELD MERIDEN on SEPTEMBER 1, 2006.
Part of the move seeks out diminishing these smaller, indoor mall locations -- especially when the chain has since aimed to place two to three stores per town. Unlike the voluptuous, clean and vital looking locations down the road from the aging mall site, the Meriden Square CVS hadn't ever a pharmacy, like most mall-side stores which is now and evermore a staple in the CVS chain's marketing campaign, which seeks to promote a friendly, knowledgeable staff of pharmacists (to remedy, if you will, recent controversy surrounding the uncertainty of distributed medicine at shops).

CVS continues to operate various locations within major shopping malls in the state including Danbury Fair Mall, Crystal Mall and The Shoppes at Buckland Hills. Stores in Enfield Square and Westfarms Mall may be long gone and there's no word if any of the aforementioned will be closed soon along with Meriden and Trumbull (at Westfield Trumbull).
Yours truly worked as a CVS employee and could tell you of another dire, dire store in Unionville, Conn...

UPDATE (1-5-08): Westfield Trumbull store closing (are we detecting a trend?).
UPDATE (1-6-08): Recent photos added, title image replaced.

All newspaper advertisements courtesy Hartford Courant. All original/on-site photos by The Caldor Rainbow.

9 comments:

Joseph said...

The Waterford Crystal Mall is still in operation...as being one of the first stores with the mall's opening in 1984.

The store's facade has remained unchanged. And some of the mall's original brown & brick-toned tile's are still decorated along the bottom of CVS's facade as a threshold.

Jonah Norason said...

Just so you know, I am no fan of CVS. I live in Texas, where CVS have converted all the Eckerds into CVS Pharmacies and now have marked-up prices with a convoluated Kroger-card style pricing. I can't pity a closure of a classic CVS unless they pack up and move out of my market.

Marc said...

Nick told me about this prior to his posting of his write-up about this and I was some-what surprised. Then again I also wondered how come none of these mall stores were ever expanded to include a pharmacy?

Tim Parry said...

The Westfield Trumbull store is also closing, or just did. They had a "store closing" sign up just before Christmas. Makes sense for CVS since they can't expand to include a pharmacy, but it doesn't make sense if malls are turning into "lifestyle centers."

Orochimaru said...

I remember that place and I remember the one in Westfarms too. Such memories.

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a real shame because this is one of the original first stores in open when this mall opened, well all thing in this world have an end, natural or unnatural things.

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I think you are right, I just hate January. It's the worst time of the world. I would like to understand your point of view but each season has something different, isn't?

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