Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Historic Atlanta Drugstore On the Move

Wender & Roberts is on the move in Roswell.

Wender & Roberts will relocate from Crabapple Road to the former Krispy Kreme doughnut shop on Atlanta Street in Roswell.  The two sites are just two miles apart, but the new location will allow Wender & Roberts to use the existing drive-thru, a feature they had wished for at their existing shop.

Krispy Kreme had relocated from Atlanta Street to a new, nearby location on Alpharetta Highway this past September.

The relocated Wender & Roberts intends to open in February, with plans for a seamless transition from the old location to the new.

Wender & Roberts, one the oldest independent pharmacies in Atlanta, dates back to 1918, but is now owned by Moye's Pharmacy, another independent pharmacy, which originally opened in 1977 and is based in Stockbridge.  Moye's has five locations, Stockbridge: Hampton, Locust Grove, McDonough North and Downtown McDonough.

Wender & Roberts once had a location in North Springs Center in the 7000 block of Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, but it closed around  a decade ago.  Their gift-centric location at West Paces Ferry Shopping Center, at the intersection of Northside Drive and West Paces Ferry Road, has been an institution for generations and remains popular.

Given the proliferation of generic "Big Box" pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid, not to mention pharmacies within Publix, Kroger and Walmart, it's nice to see a smaller, local pharmacy not only surviving, but thriving.

I recall independent shops like King's Drugs in Peachtree Battle (later an Eckerd, and now a Rite Aid) and Plaza Drugs (later Big B Drugs then Revco, Market One - a cool indie Whole Foods-type store and now Urban Outfitters).

Today, there are few truly local, independent and/or family owned pharmacies.  A handful do exist though, a few even in metro Atlanta.  Little Five Points Pharmacy on Moreland Avenue in Little Five Points and Briarcliff Pharmacy on Briarcliff Road both serve their local communities and have operated for years successfully despite increasing competition.

Briarcliff Pharmacy is kind of special in that they were previously known as Oak Grove Pharmacy and were located in nearby Oak Grove.  Oak Grove Meat Market closed to make way for a new Walgreens, at which point they reopened as Oak Grove Market and took the space of Oak Grove Pharmacy.  The pharmacy owners then teamed up with The Personal Touch, a Hallmark gift shop, to open Briarcliff Pharmacy.

Outside the perimeter, in smaller towns, independent pharmacies are far more common.  A few that come to mind that I've visited personally are McGowan Jones Pharmacy from 1964, in Shannon, north of Rome, and Haney's Drug Corner dating back to 1975 and Brooke's Pharmacy, which just opened this past September, both in Carrollton.  

Do you prefer Walgreens or the pharmacy at Publix, or do you patronize small, local pharmacies?

Are you old enough to miss the days of soda fountains in pharmacies?

What item were you surprised to see sold in a pharmacy?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.


Anonymous said...

Back in the day there was Oak Grove Pharmacy (Oak Grove & Lavista) and Barwick’s Pharmacy (Briarcliff & Clairmont) and both had early ‘60’s Volkswagen Beetles for pharmacy delivery vehicles. It was a treat to visit their soda fountains while a prescription was being filled. Initially Oak Grove Market was located in what was previously a Phillips 66 station on the present Walgreens site. Oak Grove Market moved across the street into the old Oak Grove Pharmacy location and Walgreens was constructed. Eddie Harelik the owner of Barwick’s Pharmacy retired and Oak Grove Pharmacy (now Briarcliff Pharmacy) was purchased from the Baldwin’s and relocated to Mr. Harelik’s old space. Man, I wish I could have an order of fries and a cherry Coke from either soda fountain!

Anonymous said...

Here are pictures of the old Oak Grove and Barwick’s signs:



Carl Black said...

I didn't even realize W & R had locations other than Buckhead.

Oak Grove Market actually opened well before the meat market closed. I believe it was started by the (presumably former) wife and one son of the across-the-street market to compete with the father and another son that remained at the original location. When the original sold to WAG, I wasn't sure if it signified that the mother "won" (because they were still in operation) or if it was the father (for presumably making $$ selling out...though if he didn't own the building, prolly not).

Atlantan99 said...


You are totally right! I was likely still in elementary school back then and clearly I'm was not the encyclopedia then that I am today. Thanks for your readership and assistance.

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