Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Older Areas Get Attention Drug Store Chain Opening Up in Established Neighborhoods

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Older Areas Get Attention Drug Store Chain Opening Up in Established Neighborhoods

Article excerpt

A pharmacy chain with ambitious growth plans is opening new

stores in older Jacksonville neighborhoods that many other

retailers have abandoned.

Walgreen drug stores are under construction in five

neighborhoods around Jacksonville. Two other stores have opened

in the past several months.

For several neighborhoods, the new stores represent an exception

to long-term patterns of businesses leaving for newer suburban

areas.

"It surprised a lot of people around here that they'd do that,"

said Maxine Nelson, whose home in the Twin Towers apartments is

a few blocks from a store under construction at 44th Street and

Norwood Avenue on the Northside. She said people in the

neighborhood have few other places to fill prescriptions.

Walgreen has had a store in the neighborhood for years, inside

Gateway Marketplace shopping center. The new store, which will

be separate from the mall, is designed to be more convenient.

"It'll be better for me once they put it on the corner," Nelson

said. "Even if you catch the bus over there, you've still got a

good little way to walk" to the mall store, she said.

Nelson, whose apartment complex rents primarily to senior

citizens, said the walk can be difficult for some older

residents with health problems.

In siting its stores, Walgreen is seeking overlooked markets in

neighborhoods with large numbers of seniors and young children,

who are major pharmaceutical customers.

"We see an opportunity to make a major investment," said Michael

Polzin, a spokesman for the Deerfield, Ill.-based chain. "In

these inner-city areas, there tend not to be a lot of convenient

places [to shop]."

The company has been in business in Jacksonville for many

years, with stores from Mandarin to the Northside.

However, in this round of expansion the company deliberately

bypassed some areas that have heavy commercial development, such

as Mandarin, in favor of areas that are underserved by competing

companies. …

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