When they closed down Coronado’s beloved five and dime store Coro-Mart, the whole town mourned collectively. Gone were those halcyon days soon to be replaced by the clinical drug stores like Walgreens.
For almost three decades, she sat in a state of decay which worsened every day.
A ray of hope danced before our eyes when we heard that someone was negotiating a deal to refurbish and reopen, but that was soon dashed to the curb when worries arose over safety concerns due to the structure’s inability to meet earthquake standards.
The agony ensued when the old Bank Of America building was going to be turned into a new ghastly looking Walgreens drug store and was about to take up residence with a structure that looked like a tacky Las Vegas casino.
When construction began our hearts sank, and when we saw the awful rendering, we shook our heads in sadness. It could not get much worse you say? Get ready for beyond worse.
Construction was impeded, delayed or postponed with myriad setbacks and vague promises of a finish date. Three foremen came and went and delays only increased with each disquieting day. People hated the half-finished building; and when it did finally open, people hated it all the more.
To this day, Coronado citizens have boycotted and will to continue to do so forever.
In 2010, I wrote an article for the Coronado Clarion about Coro-Mart called “Goodbye Cruel World” which lamented it’s agonizing decomposition but still holding on to the dream that one day it would be revived.*
Now the project is in the hands of one of the finest construction companies anywhere in this country.
I say that because all of the top management executive made their bones in the building industry as teenagers, starting out as apprentice carpenters and climbing the ladder one rung at a time. This is the stuff that is required to become proficient and excel in the crowded construction industry today.
Headed by Rick Backus – Chairman / Chief Executive Officer, and Greg McDonald – President, you would be hard pressed to find a more reputable and dependable construction corporation anywhere.
Even in a Co-vid environment and the regular struggles to proceed, Eleven Western Builders has manage to keep on schedule, a miracle in today’s chaotic landscape.
Hat tip to Von’s management for the revival of our lost and beloved Coro-Mart.
There will be a celebration on opening day that will put us all in bed for a week, but we will have a perpetual smile plastered on our faces for the rest of our lives.
GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD
“In the dime stores and bus stations
people talk over situations
read books and repeat quotations
draw conclusions on the wall…”
Love Minus Zero No Limit–Bob Dylan
Coronado’s own Five & Dime store, Coromart, has been closed for many years. Not just the business itself, but the entire concept of the Five & Dime store has fallen by the wayside in most American towns. There are a myriad of knock-offs or 99-cent outlets and the big chain stores like Walmart offer many of the same affordable goods. The 7-Eleven stores bridge that gap in a small way and every liquor store now carries the same.
But a dime back then went a lot farther than 99 cents does today. There are very few items that you can by for one dollar, but back then you could get four pieces of candy for one penny and there were many other items for that price. My brother in-law, Andy, would be so happy that he could buy a six pack of BUCKHORN beer for a whole 99 cents.
There was not a single centimeter of wall space inside Coromart with its twenty-foot ceiling. It was packed to the rafters with gift items and sundries for any and every occasion.
The concept of the variety store originated with the five and ten, nickel and dime, five and dime, or dime store, a store where everything cost either five or ten cents. The originator of the concept may be Woolworth’s, which began in 1878 in Watertown, New York. Other five and tens that existed in the USA included W.T. Grant, J.J. Newberry’s, McCrory’s, Kresge, McLellan’s, and Ben Franklin stores. These stores originally featured merchandise priced at only five cents or ten cents, although later in the twentieth century the price range of merchandise expanded. Inflation eventually dictated that the stores were no longer able to sell any items for five or ten cents, and were then referred to as “variety stores” or more commonly dollar stores. Remember Coro-Days!
AL (SAD) GRAHAM