BY JOHN H. WALKER
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Work got under way Thursday on the Walgreens store scheduled to open next spring. The store will be located at the corner of North Main and Howard Avenue.
Early Thursday, workers began unloading truckloads of cinder blocks and steel beams to be used in the project. By the end of the day Friday, concrete had been poured and walls were easily discernable. Site preparation had begun about two months ago. According to Walgreens spokesman Robert Elfinger, the store will be 14,500 square feet and will feature a drive thru for the pharmacy. The sales floor will include about 11,300 square feet.
Elfinger said the store will follow Walgreens standard floor plan footprint and would include a variety of items, including health and beauty aids, toys, magazines and some food products. According to a Walgreens website, each Walgreens store carries about 18,000 different items.
As of May 31, the Deerfield, Ill.-based company operated 8,096 drugstores. In addition, the company operates worksite health centers, home care facilities, and specialty and mail service pharmacies.
In fiscal 2012, Walgreens filled 784 million prescriptions, opened 212 new locations and acquired 54 locations, for a net increase of 175 after relocations and closings.
The world’s largest drugstore chain came into existence when Charles R. Walgreen, Sr. purchased the Chicago drugstore where he had worked as a pharmacist. Walgreen opened his second store in 1909 and in 1916, nine stores incorporated as Walgreen Co.
In 1950, the company began to build self-service instead of clerk service stores in the Midwest and by 1953, was the largest self-service retailer in the country. In 1968, the company became the first major chain to put prescriptions into child-resistant containers and in 1975, reached $1 billion in sales.
The company opened its 1,000th store in 1984 in Chicago.
When it opens, Walgreens will be the sixth drug store in Tarboro, joining two local Bryan Drugs locations — including a newly opened store on Hospital Drive — Thornes, Rite Aid and Wal-Mart.
Rumors continue to persist that developers representing CVS continue to look for a Tarboro location.