Sunday, September 30, 2012

Meta (Whirled Peas)


They've been working on renovating the long-vacant building on Hennepin that used to house Shinders and somehow that work has revealed a sort of meta-ghost.  It's not particularly visually interesting, and I'm not sure whether it's really faded paint or the shadow of long-gone lettering.  But if you look very closely, you can see that it says "Snyders."

When I was a kid, there was a Snyder's drug store in strip mall just up the road (ah, the pleasures of suburban living) and a Snyder Brother a little further down near Silver Lake Road and 694.  Youthful me could not quite figure out how these stores could include the same surname but not be related to each other.

Now that the local drug store landscape seems to be made up only of CVS, Walgreens and a few independents (and, yes, Target and Walmart), I thought I'd let this "sign" be an inspiration to try to find out.

So the first thing to note is that the two stores may not have actually shared a surname, and instead I could be conflating homophones (yes, dear reader, I've been known to do that).  The "brothers" store (from which I remember painted faces of happy looking pharmacists on the wall and in the print ads), might have contained some combination of "sch" or "ie", but I can't recall.

So let's start with Snyder's, whose demise was not so long ago.  It traces its history to Max Snyder who sold cigars in downtown Minneapolis starting in 1928 (perhaps at this location?).  The drugs came along in 1931, and by 1939 Snyder Drug was incorporated.  Then a few decades passed, until a bankruptcy in 2001 that started the process of selling off locations to Walgreens and CVS.

Snyder Brothers has left less of a digital trail.  This lawsuit suggests that I'm not wrong in remembering that it existed, and I even got the spelling right.  This comment includes them in a list of chains that helped speed the demise of independent pharmacies.  But that's about all I've got.  At least my memory isn't totally faulty.

As for those drugstores of my youth, the Snyder Brothers, along with the strip mall that used to house it, is gone, replaced by an LA Fitness.  The Snyder's was replaced by a Liquor Barrel. So at least you can get some kind of drug there.

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