Category: Shopping / Retail Services (Page 4 of 5)

Bus Transit for Downtown Residents: Beyond the R-Line

Moore Square Transit StationOkay, so we love the R-Line for getting around the downtown core, but what if we want to do some real shopping or go to the airport?  

Like other downtown residents, you like to avoid getting in your car when you can, so maybe you’ve already considered taking the bus somewhere.  But you may assume it isn’t practical or worry you might not get where you want to go on time.


Well, if you were one of the DLA members who attended our transit event two weeks ago, you learned just how easy it is to take the bus.  For those who missed our event, here’s the good news.


Compared to driving, bus fares are extremely cheap, with one-way fares costing just a buck! It’s even less expensive to buy a 5 day or monthly pass.  You can even purchase your bus pass online

Boarding at Moore Square

Moore Square Station Transit Mall is shown on the right.  There are different boarding zones, so look for the colored pillars to learn where to stand and wait for your bus.

Shopping at Cameron Village, Crabtree Valley Mall or Townridge Shopping Center

At the Moore Square Station, line up at the Red Zone.  Using route #39, the trip to Cameron Village takes only 10 minutes, and then another 15 minutes (25 minutes total) to Crabtree Valley Mall.  Here is the outbound (from downtown) and inbound route map and schedule.  If you prefer to shop at the Pleasant Valley or Townridge Shopping Centers, the trip via route #6 takes 40 minutes.

Going to the airport

At the Moore Square Station, line up at the Purple Zone.  The bus stops at both airport terminals and takes only 30 minutes.  Here is the route map and schedule.

New Technology for real-time tracking is here, and more is COMING SOON.

Many downtown residents enjoy the free smartphone App to get real time tracking of the R-Line bus.  And this same tracking is also available TODAY for all CAT and Triangle Transit Bus routes.  For tracking on the go, you can download the iPhone App here.

But it’s going to get even better.  Real-time bus route information will soon provide predictions of bus arrival times at any stop. This information is sent to digital signs at some stops, but is also available by text message and on the web. 

Want to learn more? Read the CAT Riders Guide FAQ, or contact Kathy Molin, TDM Coordinator for the City of Raleigh at, ph: 919-996-4036 

Additional links:

A Shopping SPREE! Shop your heart out while funding community programs

This weekend, 1021 – 10/24: Slip on your shopping shoes, put on your game face and head over to the Raleigh Convention Center for four packed days of serious shopping fun.  It’s the 26th A Shopping SPREE! presented by the Junior League of Raleigh, an annual event that not only funds the league’s many community outreach programs, but also jump starts the holiday shopping season for thousands of patrons in the Triangle and beyond.

For a general admission ticket of $10 (good for all four days), you have access to over 150 vendors from across the country showcasing their merchandise.  Everything from gourmet food, to pewter, to clothing, to jewelry will be on display for purchase.  Dedicated patrons come back year after year for the latest offerings from their favorite exhibitors while looking forward to discovering newcomers to the SPREE. 

Jump over to for more information on this event.

Hamlin Drug Store, Then and Now

If you live or work Downtown, you might have noticed the Hamlin Drug Store Segway buzzing by on its way to deliver medicine to a nearby resident.  Hamlin Drug Store at 126 East Hargett Street (map) has never been one to follow the trend.  This is something that has long delivered not just pride, but success to the Dr. John Johnson family, whose generations continue to work together to meet the needs of their customers.

Dr. John JohnsonLast week as Brian Reece and I collected stories to capture the history of this Downtown landmark,  Dr. Johnson’s daughter Mischelle, announced proudly that her father had never sold tobacco products.  Her father smiled at that.  His daughter’s memory didn’t go back far enough to cover the full 53 years that he’d been in business.

At one time he had sold tobacco, he told us.  But  one day over 45 years ago, when one of his customers was buying medicine for her lung cancer, he noticed she was also purchasing two cartons of cigarettes.  That day he decided to draw the line, seeing as he described it, “the incongruence of being in the healthcare business.” Dr. Johnson declares that he “will never put profit before one’s healthcare.”  



It’s clear he cares deeply about his customers, sometimes 3-4 generations, who are deeply loyal and appreciate the personal service that a family owned drug store can provide.  Dr. Johnson says he is proud to be an independent pharmacist, not driven by a model, but part of a culture of being a healthcare delivery service. 

As his other daughter Kimberley explains, “We are aware of our community. We have an ear on the ground and are always looking to strengthen our community.”  And Hamlin Drug Store has been part of the Downtown community for 106 years, the oldest drug store in Raleigh, and the oldest African-American owned pharmacy in North Carolina.  

People’s Drug Store, 1907It all started in 1904, when James Edward Hamlin opened People’s Drug Store, which became Hamlin Drug company in 1907.  John Mitchell Johnson and his partner, Clarence Coolidge, purchased the store from the remaining Hamlin heirs in 1957 from the granddaughter of the original owner.  Dr. Johnson became the sole owner when his partner died 21 years ago.

Hamlin Drug store moved to its current location (126 East Hargett Street), in the heart of the Black commerce district in 1964, and endured the mass exodus of Downtown businesses, what Dr. Johnson calls the “tumult of the mid 60s”, as new malls were built in the suburbs.  But Dr. Johnson,  a self-described “congenial urban dweller” decided to stay Downtown, confident that “the urban dweller would resurface”.

It was a long wait, but today, the 81 year old Dr. Johnson says he is happy to see the arrival of new residents, adding to what he says is a good mix of people.  He believes people are more confident now that Downtown is seen as safe, though he retorts that crime problems were always a perception, and that people needed to “disabuse themselves of this misunderstanding!”

Dr. Johnson remarks that initial actions to revitalize the city were disjointed, consisting of fits and starts without any solid direction that he could identify.  But now the city is on the right track, and he is particularly pleased with the attention being given to redesigning Moore Square.  

Hamlin Drug Store is also bringing in new changes to their business, adding new product selections, including organic and all natural Health and Beauty products, offering adult vaccinations, and ushering in their new state-of-the-art Pharmacy Robot (robotic dispensing system).

Jamie, Kimberley, Dr. Johnson, Mischelle, NicholeBe sure the next time you need a pharmacist, or maybe just like being called by name, walk on over and say hello to Dr. Johnson, daughters Mischelle and Kimberley, and their new pharmacist, Jamie.  They’re open Monday-Friday: 9:00am – 5:00pm, and Saturday: 10:00am – 2:00pm. 

Glenwood South’s Northeast Corner – Frontier of Possibility

Taking in the view from the terrace of my condo on Glenwood South, I can see many acres of underutilized land.  Though my street has been transformed into a bustling entertainment district, the tract of land on the northeast corner of Glenwood South has not yet been touched by our Downtown’s development.  But from my viewpoint, I see a frontier of possibility. 

Arial map shows blocks bounded by Capital Boulevard to the east, the rail spine to the south, West Street to the west, and Peace Street to the north. 

Buildings today mainly used to house various city/county services, along with some remaining warehouses. 

(The West condos were under  construction when this photo was taken, as shown on the right side of the map.)  


This tract of land is clearly underutilized when considering its location, adjacent to Downtown’s northern gateway, and flanked by the heavily developed Glenwood South and the Blount Street Commons development underway further to the east. 

I’m reminded of the vision of Dan Douglas for the Downtown’s northern gateway, where the “grungy highway” of Capital Boulevard would be replaced with “a tree-lined boulevard, with stoplights, sidewalks and cross streets that connect to a pair of new frontage streets parallel to the train tracks, perhaps including a street car line up the middle”. 

If this could happen to Capital Boulevard, then what could happen with this tract of land, here on the northeast corner of Glenwood South?  I envision a mixed use area, with lots of retail including a full service grocery store, an area with easy walking access from  the Capital district and the rest of Glenwood South, served by underground parking and a pedestrian bridge that would link to the nearby Seaboard Station.   

Now that would be nice! 

Looking down from my terrace, I also see a small creek that emerges from under my building, then disappears under West Street.  I’ve recently learned that this is Pigeon Creek Branch, a heavily polluted creek that today is mostly buried in giant pipes.  And I’m now hearing more about the possibilities for cleaning and opening up this creek into a featured waterway, maybe even a river-walk.  Now that would REALLY be nice!  More about this in another post, coming soon!

Now, One More Way to ‘Buy Local’ in Downtown Raleigh

When St. Saviour’s Center, a community outreach ministry in Glenwood South, asked me (as a volunteer) to help them strengthen their connections with the surrounding community, I immediately thought of Britt Farms and their fresh produce delivery service. What better way to bring people together than through food, which nourishes bodies and relationships? 

Saint Saviour’s, 616 Tucker Street, RaleighTogether, we decided that a local produce delivery service could be just the right solution.  Fresh fruit and vegetables delivered weekly would support local business, promote healthy eating, and build the relationship between the Center and its neighbors. 

Last spring, I got to know Britt Farms, a family-owned business from Mount Olive, when my husband and I decided to purchase a share of fresh, locally grown produce through the farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.  

Every Tuesday from April to September, my husband and I couldn’t wait to pick up our box full of delicious seasonal local produce. Over the course of the season, I was introduced to many new foods and was exposed to new ways of cooking.



The food was much more flavorful and nutritious than store-bought food. There was no wasteful packaging (the boxes are reused each week), no unnecessary chemicals in the food to prevent spoiling, and the produce did not have to travel great distances to reach us, keeping pollution from transport vehicles to a minimum.

We enjoyed getting to know Jennifer and Vernon Britt and learning more about their farm, which has been in their family for generations. We learned that by supporting Britt Farms, we were helping farmers to plan their crop yield and grow more sustainably. We were also supporting local business and putting money back into the North Carolina economy. 

After several visits from Jennifer and Vernon Britt to St. Saviour’s, a partnership was created, and this April, Britt Farms will begin to deliver fresh, locally grown produce to neighbors and friends of Saint Saviour’s Center.

Article contributed by Caroline Hope Griffith, a DLA member.

Ordering from Britt Farms
Each week between April 15 and Sept. 30 Britt Farms will deliver fresh, locally grown produce (pre-ordered) for neighbors and friends of Saint Saviour’s Center.  The produce will be available for pick-up on Thursdays between 3pm-6pm.     
Orders are placed directly through Britt Farms.  Use this link to download an order form.  The deadline for ordering is April 3rd.


Please direct any questions to Jennifer Britt (, or visit their website at  

Advocates for Health in Action provides information about Community Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, CSAs, and “Pick-Your-Own” farms in Wake County:


Other ways to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables in Downtown Raleigh

City Market Produce, 333 Blake Street at City Market.  Open Thursday through Saturday, (7am-6pm)

Outdoor farmer’s markets every Wednesday in the City Plaza (relocated from Moore Square this year).  Open from April 28th through October, weather permitting.

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