Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Muir Cut-Rate Drug Store Ad – October 19, 1949

October 19, 1949 ad from the Lorain Journal
Many of us fondly remember Lorain’s great family-owned drug stores, such as Whalen’s and National Pharmacy.

Detail from a July 4, 1949
Lorain Journal ad
But decades before Discount Drug Mart and Revco came to town, Lorain had an outlet for a large regional chain that is largely forgotten today: Muir’s Cut-Rate Drugs.

The chain was based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Its listing (as the Muir Co.) first appeared in the Lorain City Directory in the early 1920s, located at 552 Broadway. Some time in the late 1940s, it moved to 362 Broadway. By the 1950s it was located at 758 Broadway.

Its Lorain directory listing finally disappeared beginning with the 1965 edition.

One of Muir's Lorain store managers went on to be become famous. The manager listed in the 1947 Lorain City Directory was none other than Larry E. Tetzlaff. Of course, you know him as Jungle Larry.

1947 Lorain City Directory Listing
A nice capsule history of the Muir chain was provided in an ad that ran in the Sandusky Register on September 14, 1966.

Vintage Muir pill box
The ad copy read, "We opened our first Muir Drug Store in 1922 on the premise, that top quality famous-name brands, if offered at extra low prices, would sell in large enough volume to justify our operating at a lower-than-normal margin of profit. That premise has proven to be correct.

"Since that modest beginning over 40 years ago, Muir Drug Stores have grown and grown in number and size and spread throughout the Middle West until today Muir's is one of the largest, fastest- growing and most respected drug chains in America.”

Strangely enough, it was about that time Muir had abandoned the Lorain market. But although the chain is largely forgotten in our area, it managed to survive until the mid-1980s.

The 24-unit Muir Drug Store chain was acquired by Rite Aid in June 1984.

One of the amusing aspects of Muir advertising is their mascot: the stereotypical Thrifty Scot.

Early appearances show him as a small silhouetted figure, such as seen on the vintage pill box above. But as time went on, he became more prominent in the ads until he became the smiling, friendly face of the company.

He was even featured on service pins given to company employees.

Today of course, using “Scottish thrift” in advertising is recognized as an unflattering and silly stereotype. 

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