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The rush to open

Signs of Walgreens' impending arrival in Crescent City have been going up at the chain's local site on Highway 101 for weeks. (The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson).
Signs of Walgreens' impending arrival in Crescent City have been going up at the chain's local site on Highway 101 for weeks. (The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson).

By Kurt Madar and Kelley Atherton

The new Walgreens store may look finished from the outside, but go through the one working automatic door and you'll find cheerful chaos.

Employees of the chain drug store worked Thursday to ensure that the new Walgreens at U.S. Highway 101 and 7th Street opens on time next Friday.

"Hey I need to scan that," a Walgreens' employee called to her counterpart who was busy unloading boxes and stacking items for future sale on the shelf.

"You need to scan all of them," her fellow employee said as they both started laughing at the herculean task confronting them.

With a week to go, the shelves are up, the aisles in place and everything from razors to candy bars litter the floor in various stages of unpacking.

In addition to being a drive-through pharmacy, Walgreens sells food, electronics, beauty and hygiene products and photo lab services.

Crescent City is just one new cog in a growing network of Walgreens. The 14,820-square-foot store is one of 6,479 stores in 49 states and Puerto Rico, said Walgreens spokesperson Vivika Vergara.

The Deerfield, Ill.-based chain looks for places where there are a lot of seniors and baby boomers who increasingly need more prescriptions, or where people might retire, Vergara said.

Walgreens has hired 30 employees for its Crescent City store. Those who work more than 30 hours a week will receive health and dental benefits and a 401(k) profit-sharing plan.

Vergara declined to comment on possible connections between the new Walgreens store and the Pacific Drug store at 921 Northcrest Drive.

Steve Oliva, who owns Hi-School Pharmacy in Vancouver, Wash., the parent company for Pacific Drug, also declined to comment Thursday. He said there may be an announcement next week.

In 2003, Walgreens acquired 11 Hi-School Pharmacy stores in Vancouver and Portland, Ore., and the prescription files of five additional pharmacies.

Walgreens is also leasing its Crescent City property from SJ Oliva Investments, of which Oliva is a partner.

 
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