Retail

Walgreens to invest $35M drugstore recovery, expansion efforts post hurricanes

From left: Nivia Santiago, vice president of Operations for Walgreens Puerto Rico and Michael Rivera-de Jesús, an official of the Toa Baja municipal government, representing town Mayor Bernardo “Betito” Márquez.

Walgreens will invest $35 million in recovery and expansion efforts in Puerto Rico, where it owns 108 drugstores, a number of which were severely damaged by Hurricanes Irma and María last year.

The chain is now launching an additional investment campaign on the island to expand its offerings in all of its Puerto Rico locations to include, among other features, new patient health rooms, an expanded beauty offering and FedEx OnSite services, executives said.

On Wednesday, Walgreens reopened its drugstore in Toa Baja, its final location to reopen on the island and one of six locations where the company operated a temporary pharmacy while it repaired the store.

“We are very excited to not only rebuild, but continue to innovate in our stores by bringing new features and services to a community where we have provided trusted care for nearly 60 years,” said Alex Gourlay, president of Walgreens.

“Our employees’ response in the community over the last year is the perfect example of what it means to work at Walgreens,” he said.

“Whether they were working to re-establish pharmacy services or going door-to-door to hand out bottled water, we could not be more proud of how our employees continued to care for the community. They, along with our customers on the island, deserve this commitment,” Gourlay added.

Walgreens is now upgrading all of its Puerto Rico pharmacies to include patient health rooms that allow pharmacists to provide counseling and services such as immunizations in a private setting.

Walgreens also is elevating its beauty offering in all its Puerto Rico stores to include an expanded offering from brands such as No7, Botanics, Soap & Glory and YourGoodSkin. The stores will feature a new beauty consultation area where specially trained beauty consultants are available to help customers discover new offerings that make them look and feel good. In 10 locations, a marquee beauty experience will offer additional prestige beauty brands.

All Walgreens drugstores in Puerto Rico also will receive Walgreens updated brand materials to reflect the company’s new brand, “Trusted since 1901,” which launched last December to reinforce Walgreens legacy of caring for communities.

When complete, Puerto Rico will be the first market where all Walgreens locations will reflect the new brand materials.

Beyond the traditional drugstore experience, Walgreens is working in collaboration with FedEx to offer FedEx OnSite package pickup and drop off services at all Walgreens locations in Puerto Rico. The service makes dropping off FedEx Express packages more accessible and provides a safe and secure delivery option to receive FedEx Express packages without additional cost.

While the company worked to reopen its stores following the hurricanes, Walgreens continued to pay its Puerto Rico employees who were temporarily unable to work due to a closed location. Walgreens also operated temporary pharmacies in mobile trailers in six locations to quickly restore pharmacy services in these areas.

Walgreens operates 108 drugstores on the island and continues to be a major employer with about 4,500 employees in Puerto Rico.

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