Friday, June 13, 2008

Walgreen's coming to Chelsea, Michigan?

In case you haven't yet heard, Walgreen's Drugstore is seeking approval to move in across the street from CVS, on the corner of Old US 12 and Main St./M-52 in 'southtown' Chelsea. The plan would mean demolishing the two buildings on the site, where the Wolverine restaurant and Chelsea Standard office are located. They are also seeking a variance for off-street parking and a drive-thru.

Please attend the Planning Commission's Public Hearing if you want your voice to be heard on this matter.
  • Public Hearing Regarding Walgreen's - Tuesday, June 17 at 7 p.m. Washington Street Center Board Room (NOTE that the correct day is TUESDAY... I had mistakenly put Wednesday when I first published this blog.)
The pride and care taken by the City of Chelsea, the residents, local businesses and organizations in the community to retain our city's charm and integrity is admired by many. We do NOT need another box store in our town. Not only that, but this one forces the loss of part of our own community in the process. The Wolverine restaurant is practically an icon in our town and is owned by a Chelsea family, the Merkels. And for better or worse, the Chelsea Standard is *our* paper. It's where we have articles about school kids doing community projects, local government elections and updates, our sports section all about school teams, spotlights on our friends and neighbors, and local opinions. They may very well put other local stores out of business in the process, too.

We do not need another pharmacy in Chelsea. We have more than enough options available now. And what happens when our small city can't support Walgreens and help keep them profitable back in Illinois? Are they going to stay here and fight the good fight to support us? No, they will move on and leave an empty parking lot, and an abandoned building in it's place. In fact, there is an eyesore of an empty box right across the street in the old Polly's. (so much for reusing existing resources, huh?) And why did Polly's move? Because Farmer Jack built a huge store and then abandoned ship shortly after.

How much of Walgreens $50 billion in revenue do you think they will spend to support our high school football team or sponsor a float in the Chelsea Fair Parade or donate to the Chelsea Education Foundation or Faith In Action? I'm guessing not even as much as my small business does ... and well, I don't think I make quite as much as they do.

Also of particular interest:


Sarah said...

I think this is a terrible idea and we should fight it tooth and nail. That store would most likely put one of the three other pharmacies that are currently WITHIN A QUARTER MILE OF THAT CORNER out of business. There's already a CVS right on the opposite corner! And the Chelsea Pharmacy is just across the street in the shopping center! How many pharmacies do we need? Look what happened to the pizza market in town. Once upon a time there were Domino's, Little Caesar's, Mancino's, Main Street, Hungry Howie's, Thompsons, Cottage Inn, and Jet's. Eight pizza places! And now, four or five of them have closed? (but not Thompson's, thank goodness.)

No, seriously. We don't need Walgreens. We don't want Walgreens. I hate how these mega corporations can just barge into small towns and think they can do whatever they want. "Oh, there's a long-standing local family-owned institution there? Oh let's just throw a bunch of money at them. They'll go away."

Oh, and this happened in my hometown in Ohio. A gas station (at an intersection with two other gas about market oversaturation) went belly up and then years later Rite Aid came along and built a humongous megapharmacy on the site. Never mind that there were already two other pharmacies within, yes, less than a quarter-mile of that corner. Guess what happened. The Rite Aid straggled along for a while and then...CLOSED. Big fancy store with its big fancy drive-through pickup window. Empty. In this case it was the preexisting Drug Mart that survived. Well, eventually Walgreens came along and took over the site. It's an ugly corner and it's supposedly the "heart" of town (we don't have a nice "downtown" like Chelsea, just a crossorads between two main roads surrounded by a lot of strip malls). This is what constitutes the "heart" of a community: two gas stations and a pharmacy. No one even notices the town gazebo and park on the other corner. The Walgreens building towers over everything.


I don't want Chelsea to look like every other town in America! That stretch of M-52 from Old US 12 to I-94 is bad enough already!


julies whimsies on a rose said...

Sarah, I agree with you completely! Why DO we need yet ANOTHER Pharmacy. Those strip malls are ugly enough. Developers are raping the land in our town. If there's an empty green space, they'll throw a tacky development on it. Real Estate people are putting up ugly vinyl-sided ticky-tacky homes on every vacant lot. If it's not vacant, they'll drop a house on it. We do not need Walgreen's. You have my full support.

Sgt. Wolverine said...

Yes, please, oppose the Walgreens. It's fine to have one big box pharmacy (it's incredibly ugly, but fine), but we don't need two. And, I dare say, we don't want two.

I know I certainly don't want that property to change! I don't know where they'd move the Standard, but the likelihood is that it wouldn't be in town like it is now, and I don't think the importance of that location can be understated. If the local paper isn't actually local, it only gets worse. (Plus, on the selfish side, it's a short trip for me to go there.)

All this talk makes me think back to the way the CVS corner looked before they put up that gigantic obnoxious building that's too big for the lot. It's hard to picture it anymore, but I do remember that corner before it looked like some corner in EVERY OTHER CITY IN THE NATION.