On April 29, the deal was done. Late-night music at the Corner icon Satellite Ballroom will make way for late-night cigarette and condom purchases. Goodbye indie rockers, local musicians and the crown jewel of the Charlottesville music scene.
Hello national-chain behemoth CVS.
Local businesses Just Curry and Higher Grounds will have to vacate the Anderson Brothers Building near the UVA grounds, as will Richmond-based Plan 9. The deal went down despite protests from locals. A Facebook group named “Coran Capshaw, Save Satellite Ballroom,” 1,836 members strong as of May 1, changed its tactics from urging owner Terry Vassalos to keep Satellite where it is to instead calling for a boycott when the CVS opens.
Currently, this CVS on the Downtown Mall is the closest to the Corner.
If that boycott comes to pass, jilted Satellite lovers will have plenty of other CVS options. With stores on the Downtown Mall, in Barracks Road, Fifth Street and the 250 Bypass (not to mention another a ways up 29N), the pharmacy chain isn’t hard to find.
So what if CVS already has 50,120 square feet of retail space in Charlottesville? The nearest store (Downtown Mall) is a whopping 1.1 miles from the Corner. A store on the Corner would really put the “convenience” in convenience store, no?
But right next to the Grounds? Would other universities of comparable sizes and cities put a CVS on its main drag?
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill doesn’t have any CVS stores on Franklin Street, though it does have a pharmacy. Princeton University does have one on Nassau Street, which runs on the north side of the campus proper. Another state school in a middle-sided town, The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, does without a CVS on campus.
“We don’t have any on campus, but there are some in the area,” says Justine at the university’s Campus Information Center (which prohibits its students from giving out their last names).
Which, of course, leads to the inevitable question that UVA students will soon not have to ponder late at night: If there’s no CVS, where do you go to get cigarettes, condoms and a beard trimmer?
“I’m not sure,” says Justine, “but I’m going to guess they go to liquor stores or convenience stores. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
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