Walgreens grows in Hawaii, sets sights on Alaska

6/23/2008

DEERFIELD, Ill. —Culminating its 107-year march across the United States, Walgreens revealed May 28 its quest to reach an unprecedented milestone in the history of drug store retailing next year, with the planned opening of its first drug stores in Alaska.

The grand opening next summer of a full-service store in Anchorage will make Walgreens the first drug store chain to operate in all 50 states. The store will be 1-of-3 Walgreens said it will open in the state in 2009.

Walgreens also has stores in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and last fall it opened its first store in Hawaii in a head-to-head matchup with Longs Drug Stores. In its newest leap far beyond its roots in the Midwest, the company said it would initially focus on Anchorage and south-central Alaska, although no specific sites have been announced.

“With a fast-growing over-65 population, the need for pharmacy and related health services is expanding in Alaska,” said William Hose, Walgreens’ recently named vice president of store operations for Alaska. “We’ll help meet those needs with services that are currently hard to find or don’t exist in the market.”

Hose said the chain would work with local vendors to provide products specific to the needs of the Alaska market. “We’ll learn from our local vendors what is important to Alaska’s customers, and that will be reflected in our merchandise offerings,” he said.

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