Entrepreneurs

I visited one of the big box stores yesterday to pick up a prescription refill. You know the one, the big box that started in Arkansas and has blue and yellow in their logo.  To accommodate customers in these special times, they’ve implemented a new system.  All you do is drive is up, park in a numbered space, call them, and they bring your medication out.  How cool is that?  The big chain drugstores have used drive up windows quite a while, but I thought it interesting that America’s largest retailer would do it.  That got me thinking.  It’s really nothing new. A few forward thinking entrepreneurs were doing that years ago in my little home town of Albemarle North Carolina.  Back in the sixties, Friday and Saturday nights in Albemarle were less than exciting.  Teenagers with nothing to do, ended up riding around, listening to BIG WAYS, a Charlotte radio station, or going to the Drive In.  Back then beer was legal for eighteen year olds, but Stanly County was dry, so you had to drive to Rowan County to buy it.  We referred to those excursions as “Goin’ up the road”.  John’s Tavern and First Stop on Hwy. 52 north of town were the closest places you could buy beer.  The problem was that thirty mile round trip through the country was too long a trip.  But there was an alternative, you could buy from one of the local bootleggers.  Sure you’d pay a premium price, but to most, the convenience and discreetness was worth a little extra.  On the edge of town, there was Pop’s, a tiny nondescript, concrete block structure with a single door. Pop’s little building wasn’t much bigger than a storage shed, nestled between the large posts that supported the screen at the local Drive In theater.  It faced a dark side road that circled the back of the theater’s property.  A dim light beside the door signaled business hours.  If the light was on, they were open, if not, keep driving.  It was a one stop shop, they had beer and liquor.  No ID, no problem, one more broken law didn’t matter.  Just pull up, give a friendly toot on the horn, and someone would come out and take your order, cash only.  In just a matter of seconds they would return with a brown paper bag, and just like that you were back on the road, stocked, and ready to party.   Little did we know then, those independent small businessmen were way ahead of their time.  

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