Walgreen Agency?

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TW-Upstate NY
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Walgreen Agency?

Post by TW-Upstate NY »

While looking through an online newspaper archive, I came across an ad in the local paper from 1970 for a local drug store with two locations that were referred to as "Walgreen Agency" stores. I'd never heard of this previously. Was this some kind of an alliance like Rexall was back in the day? I did some digging and all I found was that Walgreen's ended the program in 1980 but no info. whatsoever on what this actually was. Anybody have more info. on this?
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Groceteria
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Re: Walgreen Agency?

Post by Groceteria »

I think it was kind of a franchising/licensing thing like Rexall. There was a (long-closed) store bearing a Walgreen Agency sign in downtown Gastonia NC until a few years back. I may be able find a picture, given some time.
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Re: Walgreen Agency?

Post by BillyGr »

Started in 1929, and the Walgreens company would offer stores in smaller areas that they wouldn't put their own store in deals on many Walgreens branded items.

Helped them sell more of their items (which would help them get a better price for a higher volume) and also helped the smaller town stores get better deals. They also found it helpful to identify talent for future Walgreens stores and to spread their name to areas they would later open stores.

Looks like they had around 1,900 affiliates in the 1960's, before discontinuing the program in the later 1970's (around the same time they started to expand their own stores to more areas).

(Thanks to America's Corner Store for some of the details).
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Re: Walgreen Agency?

Post by BillyGr »

TW-Upstate NY wrote: 14 Nov 2020 14:36 While looking through an online newspaper archive, I came across an ad in the local paper from 1970 for a local drug store with two locations that were referred to as "Walgreen Agency" stores. I'd never heard of this previously. Was this some kind of an alliance like Rexall was back in the day? I did some digging and all I found was that Walgreen's ended the program in 1980 but no info. whatsoever on what this actually was. Anybody have more info. on this?
Also makes sense as they actually had a store in downtown Albany years ago, which closed many years prior to their "re-entry" to the area and now having one on Pearl Street again from the Rite Aid acquisitions.

(Being as how those agency stores are Johnstown/Gloversville, which aren't that far from the Albany area - may very well have been others).
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Re: Walgreen Agency?

Post by rich »

They weren't only in small towns. They also were in large markets where Walgreen's didn't have locations. There was one at Eastgate shopping center outside of Cleveland in what might have been originally a chain drug store and I've seen old ads for them in other sizable places.

During the mid 20th century, Walgreen's had a large footprint that included places like NYC, but pared it back in the 60s or 70s. The agency model (also used by fellow Chicago chain, Jewel, as well as Red Owl) may have been one way to keep-up their house brand supply chain and they may have encouraged locations outside of small towns.

It looks like they ended the program around the time that Rexall evaporated. Rexall actually began by way of franchising local chains (Marshall Drug in Cleveland, later part of Cunningham's was one of these) on a geographic basis and added independents through a fee based model after WWII. The head of Rexall in those years was married to the daughter of the founder of Walgreen's, so he may have gotten the indie-based model from them.
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Re: Walgreen Agency?

Post by TW-Upstate NY »

Thanks for the responses everybody. I honestly had never heard of the concept until I happened to see that old ad from the local paper. I did a little more digging and found that these two locations were Walgreen Agency stores from at least 1965. In 1971 the family that ran them sold them to a company called Clinton Merchandising from Rochester. Eventually, they became CVS and both stayed open well into the 2000's. The Johnstown store was a downtown location that actually was closed on Sundays. The Gloversville store still survives as a CVS but is now a freestanding unit less than a mile from its original Arterial Plaza location which itself was a replacement in the mid '80's from its original spot in the plaza when it opened in 1965. Maybe they joined up with Walgreen Agency when they added the second store because of the few ads I found pre-65 for just the Johnstown location, no mention was ever made of it. As an aside, Walgreen's now operates stores in both cities as well with Gloversville being a ground up new build and Johnstown being one of the units they got from Rite-Aid.
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Re: Walgreen Agency?

Post by Super S »

I have seen a few older pictures of west coast cities with Walgreens signs in them, these must have been the agency stores. Walgreens wasn't common here until about the mid-late 1990s.
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Re: Walgreen Agency?

Post by Groceteria »

Super S wrote: 11 Dec 2020 11:59 I have seen a few older pictures of west coast cities with Walgreens signs in them, these must have been the agency stores. Walgreens wasn't common here until about the mid-late 1990s.
Not to say that there weren't "agency" stores on the west coast (there probably were)but Walgreens actually had "regular" stores in San Francisco in the 1940s and a pretty big presence in Northern California at least by the 1960s. They had 5 stores in SF in 1962 and 11 by 1978. By the time I moved there in 1992, they were already the dominant chain by far, and they had been for some time. They had numerous stores in the Central Valley long before the 1990s as well.
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Re: Walgreen Agency?

Post by pseudo3d »

Groceteria wrote: 11 Dec 2020 19:13
Super S wrote: 11 Dec 2020 11:59 I have seen a few older pictures of west coast cities with Walgreens signs in them, these must have been the agency stores. Walgreens wasn't common here until about the mid-late 1990s.
Not to say that there weren't "agency" stores on the west coast (there probably were)but Walgreens actually had "regular" stores in San Francisco in the 1940s and a pretty big presence in Northern California at least by the 1960s. They had 5 stores in SF in 1962 and 11 by 1978. By the time I moved there in 1992, they were already the dominant chain by far, and they had been for some time. They had numerous stores in the Central Valley long before the 1990s as well.
They definitely did some weird disappearing/reappearing acts for a while, I know they got into my town with a single store in the mall (which opened in 1982, a little late for a drug store along with it), which closed less than a decade later, and then went dormant for another 10 or so years until they started building new stand-alone drug stores. The Houston locations I believe were bought from Sav-on Drugs at some point in the 1980s, and never left the area since.
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Re: Walgreen Agency?

Post by TiManny »

Not to say that there weren't "agency" stores on the west coast (there probably were)but Walgreens actually had "regular" stores in San Francisco in the 1940s and a pretty big presence in Northern California at least by the 1960s. They had 5 stores in SF in 1962 and 11 by 1978. By the time I moved there in 1992, they were already the dominant chain by far, and they had been for some time. They had numerous stores in the Central Valley long before the 1990s as well.
[/quote]

Corner Drug in Woodland, CA was a Walgreen Agency store; the old neon signs are still there, with the word "Walgreen" replaced with "Valu-Rite". I believe there had also been a Walgreen Agency store in Lodi, possibly Lodi Drug Company. I remember seeing an ad for it in an old newspaper microfilm.

Walgreens has existed in the Bay Area since at least the 1940s if not 1930s. The pre-1990s Central Valley stores would have been in Sacramento. I can remember when Walgreens first came to Tracy and it was a big deal because there were NONE nearby, prior to that the closest would have been in the deep East Bay somewhere. That was 1991, and at that time Walgreens was building stores closer in size to Longs and in inline shopping centers (that first Tracy store is now a Harbor Freight, while the much older Longs across the street miraculously still survives today as a CVS in what is now a less desirable part of town).
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Re: Walgreen Agency?

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TiManny wrote: 20 Mar 2022 01:40 Not to say that there weren't "agency" stores on the west coast (there probably were)but Walgreens actually had "regular" stores in San Francisco in the 1940s and a pretty big presence in Northern California at least by the 1960s. They had 5 stores in SF in 1962 and 11 by 1978. By the time I moved there in 1992, they were already the dominant chain by far, and they had been for some time. They had numerous stores in the Central Valley long before the 1990s as well.
Corner Drug in Woodland, CA was a Walgreen Agency store; the old neon signs are still there, with the word "Walgreen" replaced with "Valu-Rite". I believe there had also been a Walgreen Agency store in Lodi, possibly Lodi Drug Company. I remember seeing an ad for it in an old newspaper microfilm.

Walgreens has existed in the Bay Area since at least the 1940s if not 1930s. The pre-1990s Central Valley stores would have been in Sacramento. I can remember when Walgreens first came to Tracy and it was a big deal because there were NONE nearby, prior to that the closest would have been in the deep East Bay somewhere. That was 1991, and at that time Walgreens was building stores closer in size to Longs and in inline shopping centers (that first Tracy store is now a Harbor Freight, while the much older Longs across the street miraculously still survives today as a CVS in what is now a less desirable part of town).
[/quote]

Actually the first Walgreens in NorCal that opened outside the bay area were in Yuba City and Marysville in the mid 90's (interesting choices). Sacramento came later. It wasn't long after those opened that the much more rapid expansion started. Carson City, NV was the first unit to open in the Northern Nevada market.

Reno had a Walgreens down town in the 60's. Supposedly was there until the 80's. Then returned in the 00's.
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Re: Walgreen Agency?

Post by BillyGr »

storewanderer wrote: 01 May 2022 03:25 Reno had a Walgreens down town in the 60's. Supposedly was there until the 80's. Then returned in the 00's.
They seemed to do that in a bunch of places. I know Albany (NY) had one in downtown at one time that had closed probably even earlier than that, and they weren't in the area again until they built a handful of stores maybe 15-20 years back now (before adding many Rite-Aid locations in that switchover).

Not sure if they had any other "older" ones in other cities around south of here - I know they were in NYC, but that's still 150 miles from the one Albany store (though I suppose being the state capitol may have something to do with that).

They also had newer strip/plaza type stores as far north as Kingston for many years (but overall still fairly few in any one area) before they "returned" to the Albany area.
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Re: Walgreen Agency?

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One of the few times I found a Walgreens that looked interesting enough to take a photo of.
This was in San Jose. It may even still be there.
WalgreensSanJoseSarat.jpg
Looking at it now- wondering if it was a former Sav-On.
I believe the Albertsons that was in the center at the time was a former Ralphs (from their 80's effort).
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Re: Walgreen Agency?

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storewanderer wrote: 01 May 2022 03:25
TiManny wrote: 20 Mar 2022 01:40 Not to say that there weren't "agency" stores on the west coast (there probably were)but Walgreens actually had "regular" stores in San Francisco in the 1940s and a pretty big presence in Northern California at least by the 1960s. They had 5 stores in SF in 1962 and 11 by 1978. By the time I moved there in 1992, they were already the dominant chain by far, and they had been for some time. They had numerous stores in the Central Valley long before the 1990s as well.
Corner Drug in Woodland, CA was a Walgreen Agency store; the old neon signs are still there, with the word "Walgreen" replaced with "Valu-Rite". I believe there had also been a Walgreen Agency store in Lodi, possibly Lodi Drug Company. I remember seeing an ad for it in an old newspaper microfilm.

Walgreens has existed in the Bay Area since at least the 1940s if not 1930s. The pre-1990s Central Valley stores would have been in Sacramento. I can remember when Walgreens first came to Tracy and it was a big deal because there were NONE nearby, prior to that the closest would have been in the deep East Bay somewhere. That was 1991, and at that time Walgreens was building stores closer in size to Longs and in inline shopping centers (that first Tracy store is now a Harbor Freight, while the much older Longs across the street miraculously still survives today as a CVS in what is now a less desirable part of town).
Actually the first Walgreens in NorCal that opened outside the bay area were in Yuba City and Marysville in the mid 90's (interesting choices). Sacramento came later. It wasn't long after those opened that the much more rapid expansion started. Carson City, NV was the first unit to open in the Northern Nevada market.

Reno had a Walgreens down town in the 60's. Supposedly was there until the 80's. Then returned in the 00's.
[/quote]

There was a Walgreens in Sacramento in Country Club Centre in the 1950s; I've seen a photograph of it. I think it was torn down to build the Montgomery Ward which is now Walmart; it was right next to a 3 square pylon tower Lucky that was in the spot Walmart is in now.
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Re: Walgreen Agency?

Post by storewanderer »

TiManny wrote: 08 May 2022 03:36

There was a Walgreens in Sacramento in Country Club Centre in the 1950s; I've seen a photograph of it. I think it was torn down to build the Montgomery Ward which is now Walmart; it was right next to a 3 square pylon tower Lucky that was in the spot Walmart is in now.
Oh I meant in the more recent (90's) expansion period the first stores outside the bay area were Yuba City and Marysville (also probably Tracy).

I wonder what the edge of their bay area territory was, prior to the Yuba City/Marysville openings. In the early 90's I went to locations they had in Milpitas, San Bruno (mall), and Concord (also mall)... which had obviously been there a while; those are all pretty deep in the bay area. I do not recall seeing them in more perimeter spots such as Vallejo and Antioch in the early 90's.
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