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El Cerrito/Richmond then and now: A former drug store building enters the natural food age

Amerio Drugs in its neon sign glory days had an ice cream fountain counter and parking in the back, shared with neighbor El Nido Market.

The neon sign and soda fountain of Amerio Drugs on San Pablo Avenue are long gone, but the building (actually located on the Richmond side of the city limits) is still there.
Amerio succumbed to the fate of most independent pharmacies, eventually being replaced by a paint store and then sitting vacant for a number of years.
After an extensive remodeling it reopened earlier this year as The Annex, the prepared store of the El Cerrito Natural Grocery Company, which established a thriving location next door at the former El Nido Market.
The neon sign on the front of the former drug store has been replaced by a wood facade, with solar panels installed on the roof.

The El Cerrito Natural Grocery Company Annex has opened in the Amerio Drugs building, offering a salad bar instead of ice cream sodas.

Chris Treadway

  • phthartic .

    We lived about a half mile away, by Alvarado elementary school, and in those late sixties/ early seventies days my friends and I were allowed to ride our bikes to El Nido and Amerio’s.

    My parents had a ‘tab’ at El Nido and my mom told me much later that sometimes she just didn’t have enough for groceries until my father got paid at the end of the month and that credit kept us eating til she could square her account. I always had to pay for candy or sodas with my allowance. Don’t think she wanted me to know about the tab at the time….

    Amerio’s had a great toy selection. I bought most of my model cars and planes there, and they had all the little novelties like whoopee cushions, fake blood, candy cigarettes and liquid filled wax teeth that boys loved to waste money on. I remembered a soda fountain/bar, but rarely if ever patronized it. Years later I thought maybe I was imagining it based on movies depicting drug stores of the era.