Walgreens Celebrates Grand Opening of First Hawai‘i Store
Walgreens (NYSE, NASDAQ: WAG) is celebrating the grand opening of its first store in Hawai‘i today with a traditional Hawaiian blessing and maile untying ceremony at 9 a.m. Hawai‘i standard time. The store is located at the former Tower Records site at 1488 Kapiolani Blvd., Honolulu, near Ala Moana Center.
“More than 100 years ago our founder, Charles Walgreen Sr., would remind his customers, ‘You’re always welcome at Walgreens,’” said Dana Psomas, Walgreens district manager for Hawai‘i. “Today, as we open our doors in Hawai‘i for the first time, we’re adapting that saying to, ‘E komo mai.’”
Hawai‘i Governor Linda Lingle will take part in the opening ceremonies, along with Walgreens Chairman and CEO Jeffrey A. Rein. Rein will present a $5,000 donation from Walgreens to the American Diabetes Association, Hawai‘i Market.
“As a health care provider, we will help improve the lives of local residents living with diabetes, especially the 20 percent of Native Hawaiians with the disease,” said Rein. “That’s two-and-a-half times the rate of other residents. Our pharmacists can have a real impact on helping these patients manage their diabetes and live a healthy life.”
The new store will give Hawai‘i customers a taste of what to expect from future Walgreens opening in the state beginning in 2008. Those locations will be larger, with drive-thru pharmacies, plenty of close-in parking and an even broader selection of local products. “If our customers like this first store, they’ll love our full-featured stores opening next year,” said Psomas.
With 9,000 square feet of sales space, Walgreens first Hawai‘i store has about 2,000 square feet of less space than a typical Walgreens. Yet the store will stock about 20,000 products, including many from more than 50 local product vendors.
“We’re committed to offering a broad selection of local products so that from the first day, our customers feel at home in our stores,” said Psomas. “We’ve learned from our local vendors what is important to Hawai‘i’s customers, and that’s reflected in our merchandise offerings.”
Among the standard Walgreens services the new store offers are:
• Multi-language prescription labels that allow Walgreens pharmacy patients to read their medication directions in any of 14 different languages. The service helps ensure patients take the medicine properly if their native language isn’t English.
• A pharmacy electronically connected to all Walgreens pharmacies across the country. This makes a patient’s prescription information available at any Walgreens when they’re traveling and have a pharmacy need.
• Flavoring that can be added to liquid medicines that take the “yuck” out of the medicine’s taste for children. Walgreens offers 11 different flavors.
• A report that lists Medicare Part D plans and manufacturer discount plans for which a pharmacy patient may be eligible. The report can be customized for the medications an individual patient takes and helps them choose the most cost-effective program.
• Convenient, inexpensive and environmentally-friendly printer cartridge refill service – a smart way to lower computer printing costs.
• Café W, a self-serve beverage fountain and food bar.
• Beauty advisors to help customers find that new skincare product or lipstick shade.
• Prints from digital cameras, either in the store or from home through Walgreens.com, where customers also can send photos to any Walgreens drugstore nationwide for pickup by family or friends in an hour.
Walgreens plans to serve Oahu and the neighbor islands with 25-30 stores over the long term. Three additional Walgreens drugstores are expected to open in the second half of 2008 at:
• Northeast corner of Kamehameha & Mehana, Kaneohe
• Northeast corner of Makuahine & School, Kalihi
• Southeast corner of Honoapiilani & Keawe, Lahaina, Maui
“With an aging population and the first baby boomers reaching their 60s, Hawai‘i’s demand for pharmacy services is growing every year,” said Clark Fujihara, Walgreens district pharmacy supervisor for Hawai‘i. “We’ll help meet that need with services that aren’t currently offered, such as drive-thru pharmacies that are especially helpful to the elderly, parents of small children and people who have their pet in the car with them. We even can provide medications for your pets to make caring for them easier, too.”
Each location will employ more than 40 people, including store management positions, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, photo specialists, beauty advisors and service clerks. Walgreens also has a district office in Honolulu, which will add staff as more stores open.
“We’re going to make substantial investments in Hawai‘i in the years ahead,” said Psomas. “Providing great customer service and operating successful stores here will mean more opportunities for residents to have long-term careers with us. And it will mean we can have a greater impact on Hawai‘i’s health care needs.”
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