Chain drugstores are expanding rapidly into traditional American downtowns and urban neighborhoods. Research of the National Trust Mainstreet Center has shown that drugstore chains can play a role in revitalizing older downtowns. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is pleased to see these investments by chain drugstores in situations where they are welcomed by the community and do not threaten a town's character or historic integrity.
Unfortunately, chain drugstores have frequently demolished significant structures, replacing them with freestanding suburban-style stores whose design - seas of parking, drive-through windows, blank exteriors, and one-story scale - disrupt the traditional main street. Even when stores use vacant land, their prototypical boxes are inappropriate for pedestrian-oriented downtowns. Generic design, disregard of scale, and the destruction of historic properties greatly damage a community's unique sense of place.
The Role of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has taken a number of steps to help communities protect historic buildings from this threat. We have published Better Models for Chain Drugstores, and we placed "the Corner of Main and Main" on 1999's list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
Share Your Story
Please help the National Trust for Historic Preservation track how chain drugstores are preserving or jeopardizing historic buildings and character in your community. Fill out the Share Your Story form and return it, along with any photographs or clippings you may have, to the Northeast Office.
Compatible New Drugstore Design
The National Trust for Historic Preservation develops approaches and resources to help communities respond to chain drugstores. The Compatible New Drugstore Design Tipsheet identifies design issues to create a drugstore that is most compatible with a community's character.
Protecting Your Community
The National Trust for Historic Preservation created the documents listed below to give citizens the knowledge they need to protect their community and to work out win-win solutions with chain drugstore companies.
- Chain Drugstore Success Stories
- Top 10 basic tips on strategy for dealing with drugstore chains
- Getting Modifications to building and site plans
- Chain Drugstore Trends on Main Street, from Forum News (pdf)