(La Mesa Courier, La Mesa, CA) – Most people who live in La Mesa work elsewhere in the county. But I still get a thrill when I meet someone new and learn they live here. It’s like we share a well-kept secret, which is a good entrée into conversation. I met one such couple in Coronado recently, and decided to share their interesting story.
Dec. 26, 2012, was a sad day in Coronado. That was the day Central Drug closed its doors after 120 years doing business there. For the previous 11 years, La Mesans Charles (Charlie) and Adele Wagner had owned Central Drug. I was lucky enough to visit with them, to learn more about their historic business before everything was cleared out.
The Wagners explained that a huge rent increase by the building’s owner (a family trust managed by Union Bank), combined with the opening of a new Walgreens – the second national pharmacy chain to open a store in town – made it impossible to continue running their independent pharmacy, no matter how much it broke their hearts to close it.
The Wagners bought the pharmacy business in 2002, from Tom Scheib, who had worked there for 50 years. The founder of Central Drug was F.H.C. Furnald, whose first drugstore in Coronado opened in the Hotel del Coronado in 1892. In 1911, it moved to 1100 Orange, where it operated for eight years before Furnald built the storefront next door at 1106 Orange in 1919, where thousands of Coronadans went to have prescriptions filled until last December.
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