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Monday, 8 October 2012

What's a Walgreens mean?

A Walgreens opening at Newmark and Broadway in North Bend. A Big Lots discount store opening across the street next week.

Is something attracting national franchises to our area?

Might just be a coincidence, said Joyce Jansen, economic revitalization administrator for the city of Coos Bay.

'I know that Walgreens has looked at the Coos Bay and North Bend area for many years," she said. 'They looked at several locations on Highway 101 at the south end of town. It all came down to the bottom line, what would it cost to make it happen."

She said that although chains are always scouting new locations, property owners also woo them when a building becomes vacant, as when Albertsons closed in the Newmark Avenue location where Big Lots is set to open next Friday.

'Responsible property owners do not want their property to sit around empty," she said.

Walgreens corporate spokesman Robert Elfinger would only say, 'We look for the best corners in America to build our pharmacies."

'We look at traffic patterns, vehicle and pedestrian, and demographics."

On Friday, a few curious customers were there when the doors officially opened at 8 a.m.

One was an avid Hot Wheels collector who was eager to check out the newest toy aisle in town.

He gave his name only as 'Randy," but admitted, 'If you print 'Randy' and 'Hot Wheels,' they're going to know who I am."

'There's Hot Wheels that are called 'Treasure Hunts,'" he explained. 'They might put one in the case, and they might not."

Hot Wheels collectors may be disappointed -- none were displayed on the toy aisle Friday -- but other customers will find plenty to interest them.

Manager Teresa Schaefer pointed out an express pickup kiosk at the pharmacy counter, where customers can pay with a credit card and then pick up a prescription without standing in line.

Another kiosk at the back of the store lets customers browse Walgreens' online site and order things not stocked in the store, such as fragrances, wheelchairs, and medical equipment, to be delivered to the store.

Fifteen employees roam the extremely shiny aisles, Schaefer said.

Walgreens makes a point of featuring local merchandise, and the North Bend store already carries both North Bend Bulldog and Marshfield Pirate garments, as well as a selection of Northwest microbrews.

Elfinger said, and Schaefer confirmed, that the store will entertain proposals from local manufacturers to carry locally made goods. If you've got a soap, a food, or a gift item to sell, give Schaefer a call at 541-756-0118.

The store is open for business, but a grand opening is set for Friday. There'll be promotional items -- apparently the word 'giveaway" is a no-no, but expect good things -- and the store will raffle off a bike. K-Dock, the North Bend High School jazz band, and the Marshfield dance team will entertain.

Shoppers can also look forward to the opening of Big Lots' doors Thursday, with that store's grand opening set for Oct. 19.

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