Steamboat Springs The new Walgreens at Steamboat Crossings is targeting a quiet Jan. 27 opening date with a grand opening in late February, store manager Jared Aylor said Thursday. He also wanted to put out the word that he is looking for more local vendors whose products he can sell in the new store.
“I talked to my district manager about this, and we want to be part of the local community. I’m going to be very aggressive about working with local vendors,” he said.
Already, he said he has committed prime shelf space to Sweetwood Cattle Co., Wing-Time sauces and Honey Stinger and is hopeful about making arrangements with Steamboat Coffee Roasters.
“I want more local clothing and food and bath items,” Aylor said.
Starting fresh at Crossings
The restructured ownership of the undeveloped land remaining at Steamboat Crossings on Pine Grove Road is working to sign up new businesses that have been known to locate next to Walgreens stores nationally.
A business entity called Pine Grove Investments purchased the 4.66 acres of undeveloped commercial land at Steamboat Crossings on Dec. 29 from Alpine Bank for $4.5 million.
Michael Hurley, representing Australian developer Rod Forrester, confirmed this week that Forrester reacquired the property after a separate development group, in which he was one of the principals, was foreclosed on.
Adonna Allen, president of Alpine Bank in Steamboat Springs, confirmed that her bank filed for foreclosure on the property in July 2011. The foreclosure was completed Dec. 7, and the bank acquired the deed Dec. 22. However, Alpine Bank had been in negotiations with Forrester in the interim and closed on the sale to Pine Grove Investments six days later on Dec. 28.
“I think it makes a lot of sense,” Allen said. “Rod and Michael are familiar with the property and have plans for its future.”
“One thing we’re certainly excited to start doing is to look and reach out to compatible businesses that do follow Walgreens around the nation,” Hurley said. “We are talking to businesses that are actually looking to take a position in Steamboat.”
Hurley headed the Trappeur’s Crossing sales effort for Forrester. Hurley since has relocated to Australia to work on Forrester’s real estate developments there.
Hurley said last month’s transaction at Steamboat Crossings includes commercial land on the north and south sides of Pine Grove Road. The northern parcels, immediately west of Walgreens, include as many as three store pads, Hurley said.
There also is land south of the existing Staples store. Forrester is in the process of rethinking what makes sense on that land in the current economic climate, Hurley added.
Wendy Lyon, of Steamboat’s independent Lyon Drug Store, took the position during city approval hearings for Walgreens that the community does not need another chain pharmacy in addition to Safeway, Walmart and City Market. On Thursday, she said she feels relatively secure with her product lines and customer base.
“We offer a different service as the little pharmacy in town. We have wonderful customers who stuck with us” through the arrival of the other national retailers, Lyon said. “I have a good relationship with the other pharmacies working to meet our (mutual) customers’ needs, and now that they’re coming, I expect to work well with Walgreens.”
Cosmetics to prepared meals
Aylor — who grew up on a dairy farm outside Buffalo, N.Y., and has a master’s degree in merchandising and marketing — said the store initially would employ 20 full-time and 10 part-time workers already chosen from among 60 to 70 applicants. When the store first opens in Steamboat, as many as 30 to 40 Walgreens employees and supervisors from Denver will be here throughout a span of two to four weeks to help launch the store, he added.
The Steamboat Walgreens will be open 365 days a year starting with store hours from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The pharmacy initially will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Hours will be adjusted as he gains a feel for the community’s needs, Aylor said.
He described his new store as a modern version of a 1920s general store, where the storekeeper tries to stock a little of everything his community needs and wants. Walgreens store managers are given a lot of flexibility to tweak their inventory, he added.
“I need to be able to order what fits the community and have to understand the demographics to be successful,” he said.
The store is equipped with a large refrigerator/freezer case where it will stock a large selection of prepared meals such as Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice for people returning home from work late; medical hardware, including wheelchairs; and a large selection of some dental care items such as electric toothbrushes Aylor doesn’t think, based on his conversations with local dental hygienists, are available here.
There also will be some home electronics including headphones and cellphones.
Walgreens will strive to stock a wide range of women’s beauty products, including lines that likely are available here now, within a wide price range, as well.
“We’ll have mascara for 99 cents, and we’ll have mascara for $20,” he said.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com