11 Defunct Drugstore Chains

Vancouver Public Library, Flickr // No known copyright restrictions
Vancouver Public Library, Flickr // No known copyright restrictions

What was your neighborhood corner drugstore Back In The Day, and is it still around?

1. Cunningham Drugs

Cunningham Drugs opened in Detroit, Michigan, in 1889 and eventually became the state's largest drug store chain. They expanded into a few other states as well, but hard times befell the chain, and the last remaining Cunningham's—all located in Florida—were shuttered in 1991.

2. Perry Drug Stores

Perry opened its first store in 1957 in Pontiac, Michigan, and in fact bought the struggling Cunningham's chain in 1985. Perry branched out into the auto parts business and eventually opened 200 Auto Works stores in eight Midwestern states. Perry was bought out by Rite Aid in 1995.

3. Arbor Drugs

Yet another Michigan behemoth, Arbor was at one time the eighth largest drugstore chain in the US. In 1979 it became one of the first pharmacies to computerize its records and link all the stores together electronically. They even had Patty Duke's TV dad, William Schallert, as their avuncular spokesperson. Scandal erupted in 1993 when Arbor was accused of overcharging Blue Cross to the tune of $17 million. The case was eventually settled out of court and CVS bought the chain five years later.

4. Big V Drugstore

Big V originated in Windsor but soon became one of the largest chains in Ontario, Canada. Several innovations helped spur their popularity: their stores were located in neighborhoods, not exclusively in shopping malls (like rival Shoppers Drug Mart, which finally usurped them); the aisles were carpeted which made for a quiet, more "professional" atmosphere; and they were open on Sundays, unlike most retail outlets in Ontario.

5. Phar-Mor

Based in Youngstown, Ohio, Phar-Mor had just over 300 stores at its peak in the early 1990s. No less a sales giant than Sam Walton once stated that Mickey Monus, Phar-Mor's founder, was the only retailer he feared. Unfortunately, Monus' momentum came to a screeching halt in 1992 when he was charged with embezzlement and ultimately convicted on 107 federal counts of fraud.

6. Revco Discount Drug Stores

At one time Revco (the name stood for Registered Vitamin Company) operated 2,500 stores nationwide. But in 1983 the company faltered when its store brand vitamins were blamed for causing the deaths of a number of premature infants. Then management invested heavily in non-core merchandise, such as TV sets and furniture, which proved to be a sales dud and major financial setback. CVS purchased the chain in 1997.

7. Rexall Drugs

In 1902, a businessman named Louis Liggett purchased 40 independent drug stores and formed the United Drug Stores cooperative, which sold products under the name Rexall (a play on the Rx abbreviation used for prescriptions). After World War II, he turned Rexall into a franchise arrangement, where independent retail outlets could pay a fee and use the Rexall name and sell its products. By 1958 Rexall had 11,158 stores in the US, making it the nation's largest drug store franchise. Rexall was the victim of a hostile takeover in 1985 and the company slid into an immediate and severe decline.

8. Fay's Drugs

The first Fay's Drugs opened in Fairmount, New York, in 1958. The store was named after founder Henry Panasci's wife, Faye, but he left the "e" off of her name to save money on the sign. By 1995 Fay's was the largest "super drug store" chain in the Northeast. From the beginning, Fay's suburban locations offered adjacent paved, lighted parking, which was something of a "perk" at that time. JC Penney bought Fay's in 1996.

9. Happy Harry's Discount Drugs

When Harry Levin opened his first store in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1962 it was called Discount Center. His smiling visage and friendly service caused his regular customers to nickname him "Happy Harry," so when he opened his third store in 1965 he re-christened his fledgling chain. At the time of Harry's passing in 1987 he had 75 stores spread across Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey. The chain was purchased by Walgreens in 2006.

10. K & B

Gustave Katz and Sydney J. Besthoff founded their pharmacy empire in New Orleans, and many residents of the Big Easy still describe anything colored a particular shade of violet as "K & B purple," due to the iconic color of the chain's signs, employee uniforms, cash registers, etc. Rite Aid bought the Gulf Coast chain in 1997.

11. Eckerd

Despite a name that sounds like something being dislodged from deep in your throat, Eckerd was once the fourth largest drugstore chain in the US. In 2004 the publicly traded company was broken up into many smaller pieces and was either sold to or merged with everyone from JC Penney to Brooks Pharmacy to Rite Aid to Walgreens.

7 Historic European Castles Virtually Rebuilt Before Your Very Eyes

A reconstruction of Spiš Castle in eastern Slovakia.
A reconstruction of Spiš Castle in eastern Slovakia.
Budget Direct

While some centuries-old castles are still standing tall, others haven’t withstood the ravages of time, war, or natural disaster quite as well. To give you an idea of what once was, Australia-based insurance company Budget Direct has digitally reconstructed seven of them for its blog, Simply Savvy.

Watch below as ruins across Europe transform back into the formidable forts and turreted castles they used to be, courtesy of a little modern-day magic we call GIF technology.

1. Samobor Castle // Samobor, Croatia

samobor castle
Samobor Castle in Samobor, Croatia
Budget Direct

The only remaining piece of the 13th-century castle built by Bohemia’s King Ottokar II is the base of the guard tower—the rest of the ruins are from an expansion that happened about 300 years later. It’s just a 10-minute walk from the Croatian city of Samobor, which bought the property in 1902.

2. Château Gaillard // Les Andelys, France

Château Gaillard in Les Andelys, France
Château Gaillard in Les Andelys, France
Budget Direct

King Richard I of England built Château Gaillard in just two years during the late 12th century as a fortress to protect the Duchy of Normandy, which belonged to England at the time, from French invasion. It didn’t last very long—France’s King Philip II captured it six years later.

3. Dunnottar Castle // Stonehaven, Scotland

Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven, Scotland
Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven, Scotland
Budget Direct

Dunnottar Castle overlooks the North Sea and is perhaps best known as the fortress that William Wallace (portrayed by Mel Gibson in 1995’s Braveheart) and Scottish forces won back from English occupation in 1297. Later, it became the place where the Scottish monarchy stored their crown jewels, which were smuggled to safety when Oliver Cromwell invaded during the 17th century.

4. Menlo Castle // Galway City, Ireland

Menlo Castle in Galway City, Ireland
Menlo Castle in Galway City, Ireland
Budget Direct

This ivy-covered Irish castle was built during the 16th century and all but destroyed in a fire in 1910. For those few centuries, it was home to the Blake family, English nobles who owned property all over the region.

5. Olsztyn Castle // Olsztyn, Poland

Olsztyn Castle in Olsztyn, Poland
Olsztyn Castle in Olsztyn, Poland
Budget Direct

The earliest known mention of Olsztyn Castle was in 1306, so we know it was constructed some time before then and expanded later that century by King Casimir III of Poland. It was severely damaged during wars with Sweden in the 17th and 18th centuries, but its highest tower—once a prison—still stands.

6. Spiš Castle // Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia

Spiš Castle in Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia
Spiš Castle in Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia
Budget Direct

Slovakia’s massive Spiš Castle was built in the 12th century to mark the boundary of the Hungarian kingdom and fell to ruin after a fire in 1780. However, 20th-century restoration efforts helped fortify the remaining rooms, and it was even used as a filming location for parts of 1996’s DragonHeart.

7. Poenari Castle // Valachia, Romania

Poenari Castle in Valachia, Romania
Poenari Castle in Valachia, Romania
Budget Direct

This 13th-century Romanian castle boasts one previous resident of some celebrity: Vlad the Impaler, or Vlad Dracula, who may have been an early influence for Bram Stoker’s vampire, Dracula. It also boasts a staggering 1480 stone steps, which you can still climb today.

[h/t Simply Savvy]

America’s 10 Most Hated Easter Candies

Peeps are all out of cluck when it comes to confectionery popularity contests.
Peeps are all out of cluck when it comes to confectionery popularity contests.
William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Whether you celebrate Easter as a religious holiday or not, it’s an opportune time to welcome the sunny, flora-filled season of spring with a basket or two of your favorite candy. And when it comes to deciding which Easter-themed confections belong in that basket, people have pretty strong opinions.

This year, CandyStore.com surveyed more than 19,000 customers to find out which sugary treats are widely considered the worst. If you’re a traditionalist, this may come as a shock: Cadbury Creme Eggs, Peeps, and solid chocolate bunnies are the top three on the list, and generic jelly beans landed in the ninth spot. While Peeps have long been polarizing, it’s a little surprising that the other three classics have so few supporters. Based on some comments left by participants, it seems like people are just really particular about the distinctions between certain types of candy.

Generic jelly beans, for example, were deemed old and bland, but people adore gourmet jelly beans, which were the fifth most popular Easter candy. Similarly, people thought Cadbury Creme Eggs were messy and low-quality, while Cadbury Mini Eggs—which topped the list of best candies—were considered inexplicably delicious and even “addictive.” And many candy lovers prefer hollow chocolate bunnies to solid ones, which people explained were simply “too much.” One participant even likened solid bunnies to bricks.

candystore.com's worst easter candies
The pretty pastel shades of bunny corn don't seem to be fooling the large contingent of candy corn haters.
CandyStore.com

If there’s one undeniable takeaway from the list of worst candies, it’s that a large portion of the population isn’t keen on chewy marshmallow treats in general. The eighth spot went to Hot Tamales Peeps, and Brach’s Marshmallow Chicks & Rabbits—which one person christened “the zombie bunny catacomb statue candy”—sits at number six.

Take a look at the full list below, and read more enlightening (and entertaining) survey comments here.

  1. Cadbury Creme Eggs
  1. Peeps
  1. Solid chocolate bunnies
  1. Bunny Corn
  1. Marshmallow Chicks & Rabbits
  1. Chocolate crosses
  1. Twix Eggs
  1. Hot Tamales Peeps
  1. Generic jelly beans
  1. Fluffy Stuff Cotton Tails

[h/t CandyStore.com]

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