New store makes 25 initial hirings
Some people haven't been able to wait.
"We have had people come in the doors, climb over the boxes we've had strewn around, and just start shopping. We've had to tell them that we're happy to see them, but we aren't really open yet," laughs Jason Erickson, manager of the new Walgreens store that officially opens those doors today on the corner of Lake Avenue and Milwaukee in Storm Lake.
Even if they have wandered in mistakenly, Erickson said it has been fun for him and his staff to spend time talking to what they hope will be future customers.
"We had a couple of little boys come in, and they were so disappointed when they found out we weren't open for business yet, so I did take them to check out a sneak peek of the toy aisle," he said.
The first official look Storm Lake had at the new store was during an open house late yesterday afternoon and into the evening. A steady stream of curious visitors toured the store, which was fully stocked in only about two weeks' time.
Regular hours of 8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily will begin today.
"Storm Lake seems to be very excited to have Walgreens come to town, and that is making this experience a lot of fun for us," Erickson said.
The multi-million-dollar development will house just about $1 million in merchandise as of today. "We try to supply the basic needs in addition to a very complete pharmacy - people will find a little bit of just about everything," Erickson said. "In fact, I think they will be surprised by everything we carry."
There will even be some perhaps unexpected touches - like trained beauty consultants to assist shoppers at the cosmetics department, and some bilingual employees prepared to assist Storm Lake's particularly diverse population.
The store will provide a large drive-up pharmacy window, as well as online prescription-filling capability and Intercom Plus, Walgreens' system that liknks its pharmacies nationwide, so that no matter where people may travel, they can easily refill prescriptions.
There is a grocery area, space for seasonal merchandise, and a one-hour photo lab.
At a time when many chain stores are looking to shopping malls and suburban developments, Walgreens remains committed to small cities, and doesn't shy away from traditional downtown areas.
"We have a phenomenal location in Storm Lake, and we think it's great to be part of the downtown. Plus, people almost have to drive by us no matter what part of town they are heading to. Walgreens likes to pick the busiest corner in town, and we think that's just what we have here," Erickson said.
The store will open with about 25 initial employees and pharmacists on staff.