Walgreens to build new store in Sulphur Springs

Construction expected to begin in spring 2008

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK | News-Telegram Managing Editor

Dec. 5, 2007 - Walgreens, the nation’s largest retail pharmacy chain, is in the process of drawing up plans to build a new store in Sulphur Springs.

While the start of construction is many months away, developers are steadily dotting the I’s and crossing the Ts on the plans.

�It�s on the radar,� said Johnny Vance, director of community development for the city of Sulphur Springs. �It�s coming.�

Sulphur Springs City Council members Tuesday approved a resolution requesting the Texas Department of Transportation upgrade the traffic signal at the intersection of South Broadway Street and Lee Street, the area where the store will be built.

Vance told council members the resolution is part of a process that allows the city to serve as a go-between for the developers and the state to improve the traffic light at the location. The signal light will control traffic from all four directions when completed.

While the city will act in an official capacity to have the improvements made, the developers will actually foot the bill for all costs, Vance said.

Walgreens operates 6,141 stores in 49 states and Puerto Rico, including 596 in Texas. Only Florida, with 742 stores, has more than Texas.

Texas is also one of the major expansion areas for the company, along with California, North Carolina, Florida and New York state.

The company has 33 consecutive years of record sales and earnings. In fiscal year 2007, which ended Aug. 31, Walgreens posted $53.8 billion in sales, a 13.4 percent increase from FY 2006. Walgreens also reported earnings of $2.04 billion, a 16.6 percent increase.

Vance said the store will be constructed on the site of the old Big H drive through, a popular hangout for teen-agers in years gone by.

The owners will have 120 days to vacate the property before any work can be done, Vance said.

�Then they [the developers] have got some demolition and clean-up to do yet,� Vance said. �It will be spring at the earliest before ground is broken.�

The improvements in the signal light will be needed due to the expected increase in traffic that the store will bring. Councilman Clay Walker brought a laugh and a little nostalgia when he pointed out its not the first time the site could’ve used a traffic light.

�There was a time we needed that when Big H burgers were 19 cents,� he said.

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