Walgreens opens in style
A persistent drizzle didn’t keep hundreds of people from enjoying the festive atmosphere Sunday, June 2 outside Eagle River’s newest downtown retailer.
“Come on in!” said Walgreens District Manager Bruce Philipp during a gala grand opening for the company’s new pharmacy at the corner of the Old Glenn Highway and Eagle River Loop Road.
The event was attended by local politicians and business leaders, many of whom joined Philipp for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the new store.
“It’s a great day for Eagle River,” said assemblywoman Amy Demboski, who was one of about a dozen ribbon-cutters.
Philipp said the company wanted to make a good first impression in Eagle River, a community he said had been on the company’s radar for some time before construction began last fall. When Walgreens executives began looking for store locations in Anchorage, Philipp said they always heard the same question.
“The next question was always, ‘When are you going to open an Eagle River store?’” he said. “We knew instantly that we had to be here.”
Philipp said the new store has some special features unique to Alaska, including a heated parking lot, heated pharmacy drive-through.
“None of the stores in the Lower 48 have that,” he said.
During Sunday’s ceremony, Philipp presented a $500 check to the Eagle River Nature Center and a $5,000 check to the Alaska Armed Forces YMCA. Philipp said the donations were the company’s way of saying they plan to be integral members of the local community.
“It’s not our right to be here, it’s a privilege, and we know that,” he said.
The event included a presentation of the colors by the Chugiak High JROTC, a jazz band, free health screening, a book signing by Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Eowyn Ivey, face-painting and even free reindeer sausage.
State Sen. Anna Fairclough said she was impressed with the company’s gestures of community involvement.
“They’re good community participants,” Fairclough said.
Sen. Fairclough said she was particularly pleased to see Walgreens showing its support of the military.
“They’ve acknowledged we’re a very military community,” she said. “That’s pretty cool.”
Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce executive director Susie Gorski said the area’s business community welcomes the addition to Eagle River’s downtown business district.
“We’re excited to have the additional activity and have them join our business community,” she said. “They’re a very community oriented company and I think they’ll be a good fit.”
Philipp said the grand opening ceremony won’t be the only time Walgreens steps up to support its newest hometown. He promised the chain will continue to have a high profile here.
“We’ll be active, you’ll see us and we’re willing to serve,” he said.
Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or [email protected].