"The news media want to write about how big bad George is going to beat up poor little Johnny," said Johnson, 59, the bespectacled owner of five drugstores in the state. "Would I like to see the chains out of Grand Avenue? Yes. But is it probable, feasible or even right?"The story was on the front page of the PiPress Local section. The back page was covered in a CVS ad offereing $25 to anyone willing to switch their prescriptions. All this, plus a report of a Saint Paul city ordinance bypass allowing CVS to have two flashing red signs on their University Avenue location.
When a flashy CVS store — literally flashy, thanks to the building's changing electronic billboard — opened Oct. 30 on University Avenue, Johnson was watching from seven blocks away from another of his stores, the old-fashioned Lloyd's Pharmacy at Snelling and Minnehaha avenues.
That, for me, none of this is a big deal. What irks me still is CVS's monolitic brick wall at the corner of University and Snelling. It's horribly unappealing to stand there, where an entrance or some interesting windows could have been if only the corporation had been willing to design their building according to neighborhood guidelines.