Monday, September 15, 2014

The Everything Store

The Everything Store by journalist Brad Stone came out in 2013. It’s about, which launched in 1995. 

However, there was an Everything Store that predated both the book and the site.

“The Everything Store” was actually its nickname. Its name name was Towers Pharmacy.


It was in New Haven, CT. It had an old-fashioned, S-shaped, speckle-countered luncheonette. It had a post office. It had a Cheers-like cast of employees and regulars.

It was popular with Yale faculty and students (including Flashdance actress Jennifer Beals, who once did a school photography assignment in the store) and Yale Repertory Theatre performers including James Earl Jones, Christopher Walken, and Hal Linden, among many others.

the luncheonette

And from 1979 to 1987, it was my dad’s.

 the pharmacist at work, 1986

At least once I (age tween) helped the cook make eggs for a customer. On Saturday mornings, I took classes at the nearby Creative Arts Workshop and my sister and I would hang out at the store before and after; one of my jobs was cutting the plastic binds off the new stacks of newspapers. There was a small toy section in the back. I was excited when the store added a small spinner rack of cassettes. I’d eagerly anticipate trips to the nearby comic book store where I binged on new releases (60 cents apiece) and back issues alike.

the luncheonette menu

One night there was a break-in and my dad had to go down there in the wee hours to assess the damage. One day he did the Heimlich maneuver on a choking customer and saved her life.

 preparations for Hurricane Gloria, 1985

The photos here were the only ones we had of Towers as of the post date, though in 2023, I found a few more, including this one:

When I was starting my sophomore year of high school, my dad sold the store. One September afternoon, my friends Mike and Seth and I went there to help pack up the inventory. My family hoarded quite a few birthday cards for future use.

After that, the building became, among other things, a Korean restaurant.

I don’t know what it is now.

But for a while during my childhood, it was everything.

5/9/16 addendum: This is what it is now:

(Still the Korean restaurant.)


J. L. Bell said...

I was in New Haven in the mid-1980s, but I never shopped at your father's store. The York/Elm shops were closer. Sorry to have missed seeing the lunch counter.

bstone666 said...

Marc, great post! - Brad Stone