Steinway Street Welcomes CVS Store
The Genovese store closed after members of the Genovese family dissolved the chain to focus their interests on real estate, rather than the retail stores that were founded in 1924.
The new store joins two other CVS Pharmacies in Astoria, CVS spokesperson Michael D’Angelis said. It is the 35th CVS store to be opened in Queens.
D’Angelis said CVS chose the Steinway Street location for its easy access, visibility and size. “We locate new stores at locations that are easily accessible by our customers,”
Photohe said. “This location is highly visible and it offers the convenience we want to offer our customers.”
Area residents and local historians said the site has a history of housing retail icons. How many Queens Gazette readers recall the S.S. Kresge store that occupied the site through the 1950s and 1960s?
Grace Sgarlata, 72, shared memories of shopping with her mother on Steinway Street on Saturday mornings, and how the shopping trip always included a stop at the Kresge store.
“Everybody knew that you didn’t just buy something at Kresge,” Sgarlata said. “Before you bought anything, you had to check the price of the same item at Woolworth’s,” she said. “The two stores were always competing for customers and it made a difference in prices.”
The Woolworth store was located on Steinway Street and 31st Avenue, just across the street from Kresge, Sgarlata said. “Sometimes people would share the prices they found at the two stores.”
“I wonder if anyone remembers the little boxes of talcum powder, the tiny bars of soap and other five-cent items you could buy at Kresge?” Sgarlata said. “As a child, I used to dream about buying those things and playing with them.”
Sebastian Sperling Kresge opened the first S.S. Kresge store in 1897 and by 1912, the chain had grown to include 85 stores.
S.S. Kresge, one of the 20th century’s largest retail organizations, was renamed Kmart Corporation in 1977 and evolved into the current Sears Holdings Corporation, the parent company of Kmart and Sears. Only one Kmart store remains in Queens, located on Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village.
S.S. Kresge, the bargain store that laid the foundation for the “blue light special”, closed its Steinway Street store in the late 1960s.
The new, 33,000-square-foot CVS Pharmacy is scheduled to open its doors in November, D’Angelis said.