Walgreens taking over both Longs on Westside

       The Walgreen Co. has announced an agreement to buy both Longs Drug stores on the Westside.
       The stores are at 3143 W. Colorado Ave. (in the Red Rock shopping center) and 4315 Centennial Blvd. (in the West Wind shopping center) The acquisition is expected to close in early June, according to an announcement last week quoting Walgreens vice-president of store operations Roy Ripak.
       The news was separately confirmed by Longs spokesperson Phyliss Proffer in California.
       Walgreens is also acquiring one other Longs in Colorado (Fort Collins) and one in California. Terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.
       There will be no disruption in service to customers or pharmacy patients, and Walgreens expects to retain all of the employees at the locations involved, the announcement states.
       “These are two great locations that will help strengthen our presence in the region and maintain convenient access to pharmacy services and basic needs in each community,” Ripak said. “This transaction is a rare exception to our primary growth strategy of building new drugstores from the ground up.”
       Walgreens spokesperson Tiffani Bruce added that positions will be offered “to all employees, including management. Additional staff may be assigned depending on need.” Regarding changes in the store, she said, “There will be some remerchandising in the first few days. Obviously, any Longs private label products will be replaced with Walgreens-branded merchandise. There will be some minor changes in store layout and signage, but any further renovations have yet to be determined.”
       She added that the company plans to stay in both locations for the foreseeable future. About a year and a half ago, a company development representative unsuccessfuly sought to buy out most of the properties on the north side of Colorado Avenue between 30th and 31st streets for a potential store site.
       The Westside Longs stores became available this spring when the company decided to end its presence in Colorado after 22 years. The Longs in the Red Rock Center on Colorado Avenue opened in 1989, while the store in the West Wind center on Centennial Boule-vard opened in 1997.
       A new, free-standing Walgreens is under construction and scheduled to open this summer at the Uintah Gardens shopping center, replacing the current strip-mall store there.

Westside Pioneer article