If you remember LaVerdiere's Super Drug Store in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, you'll find Stephen King's description of the popular store right on point.

LaVerdiere's was based in Waterville, Maine, and at its peak, it had more than 70 stores across three New England states (mostly in small towns). It was the place to go for your prescriptions, basic needs, and things you didn't know you needed. When video arcade games became all the rage in the 1980s, LaVerdiere's started putting video arcades in their stores. As one of those kids, I gave them a lot of business riding my bike across South Paris, Maine, to play Pac-Man and Donkey Kong.

Halloween was a huge season for LaVerdiere's, even more so than Christmas. They even ran pretty well-produced commercials (for the time) around Halloween.

What inspired me to go back in time and think about LaVerdiere's? I happened to stumble across an excerpt on Wikipedia from Stephen King's Four Past Midnight, a book of four novellas, including The Langoliers (which had a TV mini-series adapted from it on ABC in 1995).

Another of the novellas in Four Past Midnight is titled The Sun Dog. It's about a boy who gets a Polaroid camera for his fifteenth birthday, but it only takes pictures of a vicious dog that keeps getting closer and closer to the camera. Seems like a warped Cujo to me.

In the story, Stephen King writes about LaVerdiere's, and describes it to a T:

The LaVerdiere's Super Drug Store was really more of a jumped-up five-and-dime than anything else…carried everything the old Ben Franklin had carried, but the goods were bathed in the pitiless light of Maxi-Glo fluorescent bars which gave every bit of stock its own hectic, feverish shimmer. There was an aisle of notions, two aisles of first-aid supplies, and nostrums, an aisle of video and audio tapes (both blank and pre-recorded). There was a long rack of magazines giving way to paperback books, a display of lighters under one digital cash-register and a display of watches under another (a third register was hidden in the dark corner where the pharmacist lurked in his lonely shadows). Halloween candy had taken over most of the toy aisle (the toys would not only come back after Halloween but eventually take over two whole aisles as the days slid remorselessly down toward Christmas).

If you were around when LaVerdiere's was, you probably saw that entire scene in your head. Especially those overhead florescent lights that hummed loudly.

LaVerdiere's went out of business after Maine repealed the blue law, prohibiting stores over 5,000 square feet to be open on Sundays. That was their business model. On Sundays, they were open when no one else was.

The stores were bought out by Rite Aid, which in turn was bought by Walgreens. Many of their locations are where LaVeridere's once stood, like this one in Bridgton, Maine.

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