CVS Pharmacy, Retail Localization

CVS positions itself as a modern-day general store

It’s almost midnight at a CVS not far from Capitol Hill, and as I’m stumbling through the aisles looking for baby Tylenol, I spot a congressional aide stocking up on rubber gloves, a cop buying Twizzlers and Red Bull, and a high-heeled prostitute pawing through the L’eggs pantyhose.

CVS Pharmacy, Retail Localization

You can say America is a place of red states and blue states. We may never, ever come together on the issue of Edward vs. Jacob in the seemingly endless “Twilight” saga.

But even in a nation divided between the 1 percent and the 47 percent, it may be safe to say that 100 percent of us eventually land at the CVS.

Quietly, voraciously, the retail monster once known as Consumer Value Stores has been taking over America. With thousands of stores nationwide and an inventory that ranges from Chia pets to syringes to hummus, the former pharmacy has revived the notion of a general store for the 21st century.

And they’ve done it with dizzying financial results. Earlier this month, the Rhode Island-based CVS Caremark reported $1 billion in earnings in just the past three months. That’s $1 billion in nail clippers, Hostess cupcakes and punchy, 4 p.m. shopping sprees on cobalt eyeliner! The takeover is nearly complete in the nation’s capital, where a new CVS store in northwest Washington tiptoed over to city regulators and applied for a license to sate the Woodley Park neighborhood’s thirst for beer and wine.