Monday, August 8, 2011

When right next door is unique, do you notice? (Mar. 4, 2008)

Current mood: enthralled

WQED-13, the PBS television outlet here in Pittsburgh, produces a 30-minute magazine show called OnQ. On tonight's show, two of the three 10-minute segments concerned not only the unique, but to me, unique and VERY close to home.

Record-Rama is -- or rather, was -- a retail store selling used records. Not only that, it was -- or rather, still is -- reputedly the largest, privately owned record collection in the world, with some 3.4 million recordings. Beyond that, the amount of records for sale was enormous. In fact, I blogged about this in one of my earliest posts on MySpace [link]

What makes -- made -- it so special was that it was so close to home, barely 3/4 mile. If I needed a needle for one of my nine turntables, all I had to do was trot (or bike or bus or unicycle) that little bit of Perry Highway, and there it was. Oh well, it's gone now. Sigh. I wonder what will become of that mountain of 78s. I could have spent all day in there.

Second thing on the OnQ show that's close to home is even closer: Adzema Pharmacy. It is one of the very few full service, independent pharmacies still around, but what really makes it unique is the 7-day breakfast and lunch counter. Since it's right up the street, not even a quarter-mile away, I never thought about it much, and since I'm in the place three, four times a week, and have been for the 17 years I've lived in this house, its uniqueness doesn't really register.

Where can you find another restaurant-in-a-pharmacy? Forty years ago they were everywhere. Fortunately, this place isn't going away anytime soon. Business is apparently still booming, on both the restaurant and the pharmacy sides.

Forgot to mention that it's also a great place to just shop. It's a lot of the reason I never go to a mall, never go to a Wal-Mart, and rarely go to any other retail outlet. Like the fictional Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion monologues, "If you can't find it at Ralph's, you can get along pretty well without it."

Record-Rama and Adzema Pharmacy are/were hardly a half mile apart on Perry Highway. I just hope that whatever goes in where R-R was is at least half as useful as its predecessor, and that the new Walgreens two miles up Perry in the other direction doesn't kill off Jay Adzema's prescription business.

Updated footnote: The OnQ video clip for Adzema is available here. The clip for Record-Rama appears not to be available, August 2011.

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Original comment from 2008:
Stuart Strickland
Sad news update: The founder of Adzema Pharmacy, Jay's father Bob, passed away a couple of days ago. Here is the obit from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Robert P. "Bob" Adzema
Age 79, of North Myrtle Beach, SC, formerly of Pittsburgh, on Thursday, March 6, 2008. Husband of Joan (Staab). Father of Diane, Amy, and Jay. Grandfather of Zeke, Max, Jake, and Eli. Private Funeral. In lieu of flowers donations in his name to the American Heart Association.

I do not know if he got to see the WQED piece, but I'm sure he knew about it.

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