GRANTS – Many area residents have expressed delight about Cibola County’s one and only Walgreens, which will open later this week.
“We want to be part of this community and planned our opening to coincide with this week’s Fire and Ice Bike Rally,” explained Grants Walgreens Manager Jeff Toler last week.
Toler, who is originally from Aztec, is familiar with many of the smaller communities in northern New Mexico.
“I have a pretty good understanding of rural communities and their needs,” noted the store manager.
The new store’s location includes five acres on East Santa Fe Avenue and Naomi Drive, which had been the site of the defunct Economy Inn and a gas station.
“Three acres of the property was developed for the 16,000-square-foot structure, parking, and infrastructure. The remaining two acres were left in natural vegetation,” according to officials.
Toler and Thanh-Nag Nguyen, pharmacy manager, are scheduling visits with area clinics and physicians to introduce their services to medical providers.
“One of our goals is to become a ‘Wellness Pharmacy,’ which means the pharmacist is accessible to all patients,” said Toler. “We are here to build relationships with pharmacy patients.”
Most of the private-brand items are identified as pharmacist-approved and Walgreens offers a Prescription Savings Club for community members who do not have insurance.
The manager acknowledged that immunization services for youngsters would be available. “It’s important for parents to become informed as to which shots are needed at specific stages of their child’s development,” Toler emphasized.
But there is much more than just medical supplies and pharmacy services.
The spacious aisles are stocked with back-to-school supplies, specialty-clothing items for Grants High School Pirate fans, and Laguna-Acoma High School fans will soon have a selection from which to choose.
The store features seasonal items, such as holiday decorations and gifts, plus the print shop offers photo prints, canvas, posters and passport pictures; in addition the store has a selection of radios, cell phone supplies and pay-as-you-go phones.
The liquor department has a separate sales register.
The liquor license was transferred to Walgreens, according to Marty McBride, City of Grants’ code enforcer. “This will be package sales only and no drinking will be allowed on the premises.”
Future plans include stocking propane supplies and Netflix movie rentals.
Grants newest store is fully staffed with 24 employees including two pharmacists.
Toler recalled the job fair Walgreens hosted in Grants earlier this summer, “Approximately 300 people attended. More than 100 applied for jobs here at this store. It was very difficult to narrow it down because there were a lot of qualified candidates.”
The Grants store manager has worked in almost every Walgreens in Albuquerque during his 11-year career.
Toler expressed his appreciation for the friendly reception he has already received before Cibola County’s only Walgreens store opens.
“I was crossing the street in front of the store the other day,” recalled Toler, “and a driver stopped, rolled down her window, grinned at me and said, ‘Welcome to Grants.’”
He smiled and said, “I am excited to be in Grants and look forward to getting to know area residents on a first-name basis.”