Comments Off on AN INTERESTING ‘DOC’ *


Samuel “Doc” Eisenberg, 98, a Russian immigrant who founded Plain Old Pearson’s Wine & Liquor in D.C.,and who built  it into one of the largest volume stores in the area

died Oct 30 at Sibley Hospital.

“Doc” founded the store about 71 years ago,and became a wildly successful merchant who offered discount prices, innovative merchandising, and humorous, opinionated newspaper advertisements.

He did whatever would help sell beer, wine and spirits,, including special appearances by a billy goat and by the Budsweiser Clydesdales. He photographed 10 “mystery men in Lone Ranger-style masks,whose mission was to sneak looks at competitors’ prices all over town.A chalkboard “stock exchange” updated those prices three times a day.

Doc ran a six-part series of ads to tell the story of the rise from a $20-a-day business in the tiny corner of a drug store to $2,000,000 a year.

Born in the Ukranian town of Rovno in 1906, Mr. Eisenberg came to Washington with his family in 1918.As a teenager, he sold newspapers on the streeet for 2 cents, a penny less than the other  newsboys, who promptly beat him up.

He graduated from Eastern High School, and from George Washington University as a pharmacist. In 1933, he married and bought Pearson’s Pharmacy at 2448 Wisconsin Avenue. According to the Prohibition-era laws, customers could buy liquor if they had a prescription, so Doc cleared a shelf for liquor. That prescription was soon outselling all others;luckily, prohibition was repealed at the end of the year.

He opened “Pearson’s Annex,”, the liquor emporium, a few doors away from the pharmacy seven months later. He owned both businesses until the 1940’s, when he sold

the pharmacy to concentrate on the renamed annex, which reflected his “plain  old style” of sales. But he kept his pharmaceutical nickname, “Doc”.

Mr. Eisenberg put his son in charge of the wine selection. The time was right;wine prices were starting to escalate. By 1961, Plain Old Pearson’s hit on a new retailing idea-a futures market on cases of wine. Its ads featured Walter boarding a TWA jet to Europe, with a blank check in his hand, to buy up cases of the most promising vintages.

He was an “UNUSUAL DOC”


LarryRosen.Org    Lazer66@MSN.COM


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