Walgreens has a Saturday morning of festivities planned for the long-awaited opening of the first Walgreens drugstore in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
For the "first time in its 112 year history," Walgreens "will open its first store outside the United States and Puerto Rico in Saint Thomas," according to a statement to the Source from Walgreens community leader Justin Woods. The popular drugstore chain has more than 8,000 stores nationwide.
A grand opening program is to begin at 9:45 a.m., across from Tutu Park Mall, culminating in a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Gov. John deJongh Jr.
Along with free health screenings, there will be a marching band, a steel band trio, a clown, a DJ, face painting, a raffle and more, Woods said. And there will be plenty of food and drink, including wine and other adult beverages, he added.
The 18,000-square-foot store features the company’s new “Well Experience” format, where every aspect of the store focuses on the idea of making people well. At its core is the pharmacy where the pharmacist is made more accessible to provide counseling to patients and answer questions, according to Woods.
“We intend to be St. Thomas’ first choice for health and daily living,” said Woods. "We look forward to offering our St. Thomas customers everything they need to get, stay and live well," he said.
The new store offers express pickup for prescription medications ordered ahead of time and a two-lane drive-thru pharmacy window.
Fresh and healthy food offerings including fruit, vegetables, sandwiches and dairy will be sold.
And because people feel better when they look better, the store features an enhanced beauty and cosmetics selection including a nail bar with a wide selection of nail polishes and related products, according to the company.
Customers can take advantage of photo services along with convenient kiosks for printing. The store will also carry beer, wine, spirits, duty-free jewelry and V.I. souvenirs. Aside for the corner store itself, customers can order prescription refills online at Walgreens.com or through its mobile app.
The new Walgreens will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day with pharmacy hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. The store phone number is 340-777-9255.
St. Thomas residents have been eagerly awaiting the grand opening for some time. The company put up a sign in Tutu across from McDonald’s and the entrance to the Tutu Park Mall nearly two years ago, announcing that it was building its first ever outlet in the Virgin Islands. In August of 2011, the official projected opening date was fall of 2012.
When the project was originally announced, Walgreens said the store would be 15,660 square feet, would employ 25 to 30 people, and would offer a wide range of pharmaceuticals and notions. Later officials said the site would include a convenience store.
According to a March 2013 press release from Walgreens announcing the opening of an outlet in Evanston, Ill., Walgreens has 8,071 stores in the 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. It serves 6 million customers daily and logged $72 billion in sales in Fiscal Year 2012.