CHARLES R. WALGREEN
Mr. Walgreen, president of the Walgreen Company which operates drug stores in 129 cities scattered through thirty states, was born in Knox County, Illinois, October 9, 1873, the son of Charles and Ellen (Olson) Walgreen, and was educated in the public schools and the Dixon Business College, Dixon, IHinois. He began as an apprentice in a drug store at Dixon, and became a registered pharmacist. Mr. Walgreen entered the retail drug business in Chicago in 1902, and in 1909 the business was incorporated, with two drug stores in operation. The Walgreen Company has enjoyed a steady growth. In 1920 there were nineteen units, doing an annual business of $1,500,000. Fifty more stores were added in the next five years, bringing the net sales to more than $9,000,000 annually. In 1932 the company was operating 471 stores in such important cities as Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Nashville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rochester, N. Y., Salt Lake City, and Sacramento, and serving 144,000,000 customers. In addition, the company has two stores at A Century of Progress Exposition, one of them housed in its own building. It is the second largest chain drug store enterprise in the United State. The company has its own laboratories for the manufacture of drugs and toilet articles and for research work. It maintains creameries in Ohio and Illinois and large ice cream plants in Chicago and other cities. The Walgreen candy plant has an annual capacity of 5,000,000 pounds.
Charles R. Walgreen Sr. purchased the Chicago drugstore where he had worked as a pharmacist on the corner of Bowen Ave and Cottage Grove — and that started the Walgreen chain. His energy and enthusiasm soon led to new ideas and ambitious expansion. For example, he manufactured his own line of drug products to ensure high quality and low prices.
The second Walgreen store opened.
Nine stores incorporated as Walgreen Co.
Walgreens’ employee Ivar “Pop” Coulson made a milkshake by adding two scoops of vanilla ice cream to the standard malted milk drink recipe (milk, chocolate syrup and malt powder). This item, under the name “Horlick’s Malted Milk,” was featured by the Walgreen drugstore chain as part of a chocolate milk shake, which itself became known as a “malted” or “malt” and became one of the most popular soda-fountain drinks. Customers stood three and four deep around the soda fountain to buy the “double-rich chocolate malted milk.”
An early Walgreen’s store featuring the new milk shake
Here is the original Walgreens recipe for Old Fashioned Chocolate Malted Milk:
Use a Frosted Malt Can
1 1/2 oz. Chocolate Syrup
3 – #16 Dips of Vanilla Ice Cream
5 1/2 oz. of Cold Milk
Add Malt Powder (One Heaping Tablespoonful)
Place On Mixer Only Until Mixed – Do Not Over Mix
Use a Generous Portion of Whipped Topping In A #1808 – 10 oz. Glass
Pour Malted Milk in Glass Approximately 2/3 Full
Serve Remainder Of Malted In A Shaker Along With The Glass To The Guest With Straws and Package of Fountain Treat Cookies
The 100th store opened in Chicago.
Walgreen Co. stock went public.
Walgreens helped celebrate Chicago’s World Fair. The company opened four stores on the Century of Progress fairgrounds. These stores experimented with advanced fixture design, new lighting techniques and colors — ideas that helped modernize drugstore layout and design.
View 1934 Walgreens in a larger map
Charles Walgreen Sr. died and Charles Walgreen Jr. became the company’s president.
The company opened a nonprofit 6,000-foot drugstore in the Pentagon. All the profits from the store went to the Pentagon Post Restaurant Council, which supervised food service in the complex. The store operated into the 1980s.
Walgreens acquired its first foreign property when the company bought the Mexican retailer Sanborn’s. In 1984, the company sold Sanborn’s.
Walgreen’s Window Display
Walgreens began to build self-service instead of clerk service stores in the Midwest. By 1953, Walgreens was the largest self-service retailer in the country.
Walgreens entered the Puerto Rico market.
Walgreens filled its 100 millionth prescription, far more than any drug chain at that time.
Walgreens became the first major drug chain to put its prescriptions into child-resistant containers, long before it was required by law.
Charles Walgreen III became the company’s president.
Walgreens reached $1 billion in sales.
The first Intercom computers were installed in five Walgreen pharmacies in Des Moines, Iowa. This was the initial step toward making Walgreens the first drugstore chain to connect all its pharmacy departments via satellite.
Next-day photofinishing became available chainwide.
Walgreens opened its 1,000th store, at 1200 N. Dearborn in Chicago.
In November, the chain completed installation of point-of-sale scanning to speed checkouts.
Walgreens opened its first drugstore with a drive-thru pharmacy.
The 2,000th store opened in Cleveland.
Intercom Plus, Walgreens advanced computer system, completed rollout to all stores. Intercom Plus speeds the prescription-filling process, permits better patient counseling and is the leading pharmacy system in the industry.
Charles Walgreen III retired. L. Daniel Jorndt is named chairman.
Walgreens reached the 3,000-store mark when its location at Halsted and Monroe in Chicago opened.
Walgreens celebrated its centennial in June and rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
Walgreens became the first drugstore chain to offer prescription labels in multiple languages chainwide. Today, labels can be printed in one of 14 languages — Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese and English.
Walgreens reached the 4,000-store mark when its location at Coldwater Canyon Avenue and Magnolia Boulevard in Van Nuys, Calif., opened in March. L. Daniel Jorndt retired and David Bernauer was named chairman.
Walgreens opened its 5,000th store in Richmond, Va., in October.
In July, president Jeffrey A. Rein was named CEO while former CEO and chairman David W. Bernauer continued as chairman. Also in July, Walgreens acquired Happy Harry’s drugstore chain, adding 76 stores, primarily in Delaware. In the fall, Walgreens began offering in-store health clinics, called Health Corner Clinics, with nurse practitioners treating walk-in patients for common ailments. During 2006, clinics opened in St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago and Atlanta.”
Walgreens acquired Take Care Health Systems and with the acquisition, it expects to have more than 400 clinics by the end of 2008. Also in 2007, chairman David W. Bernauer retired and Jeffrey A. Rein became chairman and CEO. Gregory D. Wasson was named president and COO. In the summer of 2007, Walgreens acquired Option Care, a network of more than 100 pharmacies (including more than 60 company-owned) in 34 states, providing a full spectrum of specialty pharmacy and home infusion services. In the fall of 2007, Walgreens opened its first store in Hawaii in Honolulu and celebrated the opening of its 6,000th store in New Orleans.
Walgreens completed its acquisitions of worksite health care providers I-trax/CHD Meridian Healthcare and Whole Health Management. Jeff Rein retires as CEO, and Alan McNally is named the company’s chairman of the board and acting CEO.
Greg Wasson is appointed as CEO of the company. Walgreens opened its first store in Alaska, marking its presence in all 50 states. The company celebrated the opening of its 7,000th store nationwide with a grand opening in Brooklyn, N.Y. Walgreens offered H1N1 vaccinations at all of its pharmacies and Take Care Clinics nationwide to fight the flu pandemic.
Charles R. Walgreen III retired from the company’s board of directors after 46 years of service. Walgreens completed its acquisition of the Duane Reade drugstore chain in New York. Walgreens opened its first Well Experience format stores in Oak Park and Wheeling, IL.
Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson joined First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House to announce Walgreens commitment to convert or open at least 1,000 food oasis stores across the country over the next five years, helping to serve people in communities that currently lack access to healthy and affordable foods including fruits and vegetables. Walgreens completed its acquisition of online retailer drugstore.com. Walgreens introduced Web Pickup service in the Chicago area, combining the convenience of online shopping with its neighborhood stores. Duane Reade opened its flagship store at 40 Wall Street in Manhattan, NY. Walgreens announced plans to offer electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at about 800 locations across the country. The company marked its continued commitment to sustainability with its 100th rooftop solar power system installation at a store in Mason, Ohio.
Walgreens debuted its Chicago flagship store, returning to the iconic shopping corner of State and Randolph in Chicago’s Loop where it operated a store from 1926 to 2005. Walgreens completed its acquisition of Bioscrip’s community specialty pharmacies and centralized specialty and mail service pharmacy businesses. Walgreens launched a new online “Find Your Pharmacist” tool that allows customers to select a pharmacist by matching their health care needs with the areas of expertise, specialties, languages and clinical backgrounds of Walgreens pharmacists. Walgreens and Alliance Boots announced they have entered into a strategic transaction to create the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.