August 23, 1999
Volume 52, No. 1
CVS cuts ribbon on novel Emory Village store amid good cheer
No matter what their feelings might have been about losing the old Kroger, everyone on hand for the Aug. 18 grand opening of the CVS store in Emory Village seemed to agree on one thing: this is not an ordinary drugstore.
"This store represents what can be accomplished when people with differences are willing to sit down and find common ground, find solutions," said Jon Roberts, CVS area vice president. "We're here to celebrate the coming together of a neighborhood, an academic institution and a business to create one of the most unique drugstores in America."
He was not exaggerating. Not only are some of store's aisles filled with the kind of groceries one would normally expect from a supermarket--breakfast cereals, non-perishable and frozen foods, etc.--but Shields Meat Market of Decatur has opened a branch store on one side of the building offering fresh meats, produce and dairy items. And, to be sure, this drugstore also fills prescriptions.
"CVS went a long way in imagination to create this store," said President Bill Chace. "Emory is strongly vested and has a very deep interest in the success of Emory Village, and I'm convinced this venture will make the village more successful. This is a good beginning."
A fairly large crowd gathered in the tight space between the front of the store and North Decatur Road for a short opening ceremony featuring Roberts, Chace, Druid Hills Civic Association President Michael Terry, DeKalb County Commissioner Gail Waldorff, Student Government Association President Matt Maron, Justice Center of Atlanta (JCA) negotiator Edie Primm and Peavine Watershed Alliance founder Patricia White.
When differences between CVS, the Druid Hills residents and the Emory community intensified last fall, the JCA stepped in and offered its mediation services pro bono. The parties worked out the best arrangement they could, conceiving a store that would best serve everyone's needs.
"The [DHCA] is vocal because it has much that is good, much that is deserving of rigorous and vocal defense," Terry said of his association's efforts on the issue. "It's very easy to just say no to development, but sometimes that's not the best way to go. Sometimes by sitting down to talk, you can accomplish more, and that's what happened here."
Primm added that the entire process should serve as a model "not only for this community, but for other communities across this great nation" of what can be done when entities at odds with each other sit down at the negotiating table.
Maron said he was sure that the returning students will embrace the changes and that incoming freshmen would find the CVS/Shields Meat Market adequate for their shopping needs. He also thanked his SGA predecessor, Chuck Divine, for all his hard work last year on this issue. "Chuck enjoyed the work so much that he asked if he could be 'CVS czar' and hold the office for the rest of his time on earth," Maron joked.
As a symbol of CVS' commitment to the community, Roberts presented a check to the Peavine Watershed Alliance for $3,000. The organization is dedicated to protecting the watershed area around Peavine Creek (which runs directly behind the CVS store), and White said the money would be earmarked specifically for efforts in the vicinity of Emory Village.
As for Jan Saperstein and Jeff Kerker, who purchased the property last year from the company that had owned it since the 1930s, the two stayed discreetly off the dais during the ceremony. "That's the best way to be," Saperstein said, then gestured with a wink and a smile toward Kerker. "You can't tell, but he's wearing a flak jacket."