To most of us Main Street is a familiar place we traverse, often forgetting to look around us, as we head to our intended destination. But those who are more aware of their surroundings will have noticed the interesting changes that have occurred at Beacon Pharmacy. Last Summer Joel Berstein started renovations at his drug store and the work was done with amazingly little interruption to the running of the business. This was achieved by much of the work being completed outside the rear of the store, with the team working until daylight deserted them preparing the fixtures and fittings.
But change does not necessarily mean new and in Beacon Pharmacy the clocks have been turned back to include a wonderful display of pharmaceutical memorabilia and an original pharmacy counter which dates back to the turn of the century. One of the most interesting changes is the window display of curious bottles and jars of old style remedies. These are just a part of Joel's private collection of all things pharmaceutical and hark back to the days before antibiotics.
Terri Ventura, who now works at Beacon Pharmacy, put the display together using her experience in the retail industry gained when she owned a period clothing shop in Port Washington. Included in the display are fascinating relics of the past such as "Cronklin's Wormwood Vapor Salve" which claims to treat virtually everything from rheumatism and catarrh to cuts and hay fever. This supposedly potent medicine rubs shoulders with among other things "Tar Distillate for eczmatoid" and a poison antidote marked ominously with a skull and crossbones.
Terri has used her expert eye for detail and added turn of the century advertisements to the display. Some of them are originals, but sadly the extended exposure to the sun has faded many of the posters so she now prefers to keep the originals safe and place copies in the display area. Among these interesting items are an advert for Ivory Soap dated 1920 and a poster for Colgate who were celebrating 110 years in business back in 1916. In another 1920's advert Coca Cola claims proudly "from 8 drinks a day in 1886 to 8 million a day in 1928".
Inside the store tucked away at the end of the counter where the prescriptions are carefully put together, are still more pieces of pharmaceutical history. Terri helped Joel expand his collection and tracked down un-used labels for pre-prepared medicines from days of yore; a fascinating distraction while waiting for a modern day prescription to be filled. One of the larger displays show three examples of Quick-Klean labels, brightly colored and all in perfect condition as they have never been attached to the boxes or bottles for which they were printed. These three show a special piece of history as they all have the words "war effort" on them, dating the labels with accuracy and showing how America fought the war on every front.
Keep an eye on the window as Terri has more display ideas for the future, including one she has planned for Valentine's Day, for which she has already collected a number of reproduction turn of the century Valentine's cards.