LONGMONT — You don’t stick around for 103 years without being able to evolve, and in the case of Walgreens, that evolution has come to Longmont.
The Walgreens store in Twin Peaks Mall closed 11/2 weeks ago, marking a shift in the way the company presents itself to the public. As in the case of the store at 17th Avenue and Pace Street, which opened earlier this year, Walgreens is gradually moving away from locating in shopping and strip malls and moving toward more stand-alone stores. The second stand-alone store will open in Longmont next year.
“They actually had some time on their lease — so it was not expected,” said Joette Frey, marketing director for Twin Peaks Mall. “It was an older store, but my personal take, from what I understand, is that they’re opening so many free-standing stores.”
That was one of the main reasons for closing the mall store, according to Carol Hively, a spokeswoman for Walgreens.
“One (reason) was declining business at that location, and the other is that it was an older location that wasn’t typical of the newer stores,” she said. “It didn’t have a pharmacy; it didn’t have a one-hour photo.”
The store at 17th and Pace is more typical of the “new” Walgreens model, Hively said.
The new model is obviously working. An average of 425 new stores open every year, and net earnings for the most recent fiscal quarter were up 16 percent from the same period last year.
“Our new stores have not only pharmacies but also drive-through pharmacy windows for the convenience of our customers,” Hively said.
Walgreens is the No. 1 drug-store chain in the country based on sales revenues and store count. It currently operates 88 stores in Colorado, according to Walgreens’ Web site.
The company now has three stores open in Longmont: 17th and Pace, 17th and Hover, and 700 Ninth Ave. Hively said the store in the Centennial Square shopping center at 17th and Hover will be closed when the new Hover Crossing development at 18th Avenue and Hover moves forward and a stand-alone Walgreens is built there, probably by next summer.
That store will have double drive-through lanes and one-hour digital photo service, Hively said, adding that there are no plans to do anything with the store at Ninth Avenue and Coffman Street.
Meanwhile, Frey said the 9,300 square feet formerly occupied by Walgreens inside Twin Peaks is now sitting vacant, with the mall’s leasing agents shopping around for a new tenant.
The store had opened the same day the mall opened in August 1985.