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David Versus the Two Goliaths

A local resident and consumer makes a vow to a local merchant out of respect for sheer perseverance.

So this past Saturday was "Small Business Saturday." The ads and publicity around the event must have worked, because it got me thinking about Norton and the modern village I hope it can become. I considered my local buying habits, and I thought about the local merchants in town. One shop really attracted the bulk of my focus, Haskins Pharmacy.

I have lived in Norton since 1997. I try to buy local whenever I can. Despite that, I have never once set foot in Haskins. That is going to change.

In an earlier piece, I made a tongue in cheek reference to Norton's rather peculiar The District consists of two Goliaths ( and ) and one David ().

I can't imagine what it was like for the local druggist to hear that after decades of serving Norton, that not one, but two corporate giants were setting up shop within the store's shadow.

I have nothing against CVS and Walgreens. I shop at both chains and I will continue to shop there. They are both great stores. However, out of sheer respect of the perseverance that Haskins has shown, I am resolving to make at least one purchase a month there for the next year.

I don't even know what they sell, but I'll find something. I remember as a kid that I would always talk my mother into buying me a lollipop at Dykeman's Drugstore in Stoughton (before the Osco came in and put Mr. Dykeman out of business). Hopefully Haskins sells lollipops, that will be my fall back purchase when my medicine cabinet is stocked. 

Before writing this piece, I deliberately didn't research if there is a Mr. or Mrs. Haskins still running the local drug store. I suppose I will learn all about it over the next year. I hope there is. I hope I don't find out that Rite Aid secretly owns and operates the store.

I also think I read that Haskins used to have a soda fountain. I wonder if I promise to buy a milk shake every week they will bring back the fountain. Wishful thinking, I suppose.

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Ralph Stefanelli November 29, 2011 at 03:21 PM
Mr. & Mrs. Haskin have been a part of the Norton community for the 40 yrs that I have lived here,Malcolm Haskins still delivers medication to your front door ,hows that for a commitment to service,the Elders love this because many of them do not drive anymore,the store is a mini museum. When you walk in be sure to look UP...ringing the store is a collection of antique & vintage Mortar & Pestle's, a super site to see the old way medicines where made with different ingredients to take care of what "ails" you. Mrs Haskins is a painter of Toll Ware...painting on tin & some of her pieces are display, it is really a moment in time,the collection of greeting cards is outstanding,just like the family of Haskins. Merry Christmas everyone, Ralph & Betty Stefanelli
Bill Gouveia November 29, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Mal and June Haskins have owned the store for years, taking over from Mal's dad. Daughter Melanie is the pharmacist there, and I have known her all my life. My family trusts Haskins with all our medications and they have never let us down. Haskins is and has been an essential part of the Norton community for as long as I can remember. The personal service you get from the Haskins family is unmatached, and they will certainly welcome you as a new customer.
Brian November 30, 2011 at 10:59 AM
Not to take anything away from either Walgreens or CVS. But, when we announced our Norton300, Mr. Haskins was front and center. His was one of (if not the first) contribution that was made to our party. A true $acrafice for the $mallest of the big three. He supported our town on every turn. In a land of three giants in the Pharmacy District, Mr. Haskins and his family stands above them all.
Denise Briody December 07, 2011 at 09:18 PM
Haskin's is a great place to go in town and is a rare gem. My family always jokes me with because I always tell people to check Haskin's first for things rather than the "big" drugstores.
Linda Kollett December 08, 2011 at 08:03 PM
I have used Haskins since we moved to Norton in 1979. Mal and June are wonderfully kind people and are very important to the Norton community. I enjoy talking with the great folks who work there, and depend on them to keep me up-to-date on some of the local news. I love to shop there, the cards are great and the service is friendly and personal. I have asked about the return of the soda fountain! Linda Kollett
Kevin M. December 20, 2011 at 12:49 PM
Update - I completed my November and December covert shopping trips. All of the comments are right on the mark. Haskins certainly has a great selection of cards and all the essentials. I am still keeping my fingers crossed for an announcement for the reopening of the soda fountain.

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