As of May 9 Watson Drug Store will be no more. After 67 years in business, the signage will be gone. The store stock will be gone.
The smiling faces of the Watson sales staff will be somewhere else.
And the building will be up for sale.
A recent business decision of owner John H. Roberts, R.P.H. will end the legacy that was Watson’s. Due to financial issues the store has been sold to CVS.
“It is totally financial,” Roberts said. “It is the only reason” he is closing the doors forever.
“I’ve been sinking my own money back into the store for the past three years,” he said. It is time for him to try something else.
Roberts joined Watson’s back in September 1996 and became owner of the store effective January 1, 2000. He hopes to join the staff at CVS and said all eight of his employees have had or will have the opportunity to interview with CVS. Employment is not guaranteed, yet CVS has stated that they will employ who that can, where they can.
That includes his son, Daniel, who works as a technician.
“It is the only place I’ve ever worked. I’ve been here eight and a half years,” the younger Roberts said. “I’m going to miss working with Dad.”
For employee Hylda Poole, time invested in the business goes back even further. She has been trading at Watson’s since she got married, nearly 50 years ago. And she has worked there for about 20 years, albeit only part-time.
“I hate to see it go,” she said. She plans to retire.
But for fellow employee Cindy Smith adjustment to the closing will come with a little more sting.
“I never thought this store would close,” she said. She has interviewed with CVS but knows there is a chance she will have to seek employment elsewhere.
“It’s not like they are giving away jobs out there, “ she remarked. “They are not giving them out on the corners.”
Bud Strickland, storeowner, customer, and across the street neighbor, isn’t real happy with the upcoming change either. But he understands. “If the price was right, I’d sell my place too,” he said.
Long time customer Mike Molock said, “I don’t like it. I’ve been coming here since I was knee-high to a jackrabbit. I got things from Frank’s daddy.”
But Frank and his daddy have been gone for a while now. They are the ones that opened the book on Watson’s Drug Store.
Times have changed, the people have changed. Unfortunately for Piedmont, the new chapter in the book has come to a close.
All that will be left will be memories.