When Duane Reade announced it wanted to open a store in the hip poseur enclave neighborhood of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, it faced stiff opposition from locals and bloggers who feared it would destroy the area’s charm and drive a nearby local pharmacy out of business. So the pharmacy chain bought over the natives with beer.
The Duane Reade on Kent Ave features a beer bar where customers can fill up growlers, a glass half-gallon, from eight different beers on tap. A walk-in close has local, regional and national craft beers. The gambit seems to be working. Even patrons who say they were inclined to frequent the other pharmacy so they could support local independent business can’t resist the siren song of convenient top-shelf fermented hops.
At the end of the day, even some of the most ardent anticorporatists can be won over by classic economic principles. If you have the only supply to meet their demand, they’ll still come crawling through your automatic door.