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.

(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.

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.