Payless Drug signage

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Super S
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Payless Drug signage

Post by Super S »

Payless Drug had at least three different signs they used over the years on their buildings.

The oldest I remember, the top of the "P" in PayLess was curved. The next one, the top of the "P" in Payless was flat. The rest of the sign was otherwise similar. The final one had a yellow diamond around the "P".

I know the last one came about in the 90s, but I am curious when the transition from the curved P to the flat P took place. I drove by an unremodeled Rite Aid in Tigard, Oregon today, and you could see the labelscar with the curved P easily, which is what made me think of this.
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Brian Lutz
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Re: Payless Drug signage

Post by Brian Lutz »

Not sure if it's much help, but digging through my files shows the curved P you refer to in use on a 1977 ad, shown below.
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PaylessLogo_1977.jpg
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Super S
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Re: Payless Drug signage

Post by Super S »

The Tigard store mentioned appears to be built in the mid 1970s. That store shares a shopping center with a Value Village thrft store which I believe to be a former Albertsons. The fluorescent PHARMACY sign inside the store even remains with the PayLess logo replaced by the Rite Aid logo. I wish I had my camera with me as this is one of the most well-preserved former Payless stores in the Portland area.

However, this shopping center reminds me of another that I remember quite well, the Eastgate Shopping Center in Boise. The former Albertsons here, before it was added on to the front, featured doors that went straight in to the store, with no second set as you walk in, and were even with the windows, like the Value village store. Referring to Boise, I remember an old piece of concrete sidewalk that had 1978 stamped into it someplace adjacent to the stores. The original Boise stores, of which Eastgate was one, I believe all had the flat-top sign, so that would probably mean that 1978 was the point the switch to the flat-top sign took place.

By original, I am referring to PayLess stores that existed in Boise before they took over the former Skaggs/Osco Drug stores.
tkaye
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Re: Payless Drug signage

Post by tkaye »

An earlier version of the PayLess lettering can be seen on a trademark registration that can be found by searching for "PayLess Super Drug Stores" here. It's interesting to note the "Other Data" entry that lists many of the communities where one-off stores called "PayLess" operated that were not affiliated with the West Coast chain. Other trademark entries state that some variation of this logo had been used since 1937.

The smaller Tacoma-based PayLess chain also used this older lettering, typically in an oval, a rectangle with rounded corners, or by itself (never with "Super Drug Stores"). They must have had an agreement with the larger PayLess chain to share their logo; the private-label merchandise distributed by "Pay Less Drug Stores, Oakland, Calif." was also carried by the Tacoma stores.

After the logo posted by Brian was adopted (one trademark entry dates the first use of the newer logo to 1972), the Tacoma stores continued to use the older style until they were absorbed by PayLess NW around 1990. In the markets where the Tacoma chain operated, the larger PayLess was forced to use the Value Giant name, which was laid out in that same typeface and shape with the rounded top and bottom.
tkaye
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Re: Payless Drug signage

Post by tkaye »

Wow... it's amazing how that typeface was basically unaltered through the years. It looks almost shockingly modern in this street scene.
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