Walgreens to open mid-October

By Ethan Andrews | Sep 29, 2010
Photo by: Ethan Andrews Workers hang aisle marker signs in the new Walgreens on Belmont Avenue in Belfast Sept. 28. The store is slated to open Oct. 22.

Belfast — The new Walgreens store at the corner of Starrett Drive and Belmont Avenue, under construction since March, is slated to open on Friday, Oct. 22, according a Walgreens representative.

Building developer The Richmond Company, of Wilmington, Mass., handed the store over to Walgreens a week ago ushering in the final stage of construction: the interior.

On Tuesday, Sept. 28, a Walgreens foreman who travels from one new store to the next and several local contractors were busy installing counters, display cases and signs. Electricians fished telecommunications through the walls. To one side of the still mostly vacant space, pallets of cosmetics and other non-perishables waited to be stocked on shelves not yet installed.

Eric Aitken of PM Construction, the project's general contractor, said a number of people have stopped at the store to ask when it will be open — something he chalked up, in part, to the novelty of a new business in town.

The Richmond Company first pitched the Walgreens to the city in March 2009, and based on the company's early projections, the opening comes right on schedule. A building housing a Big Apple Store and Citgo Station that previously stood on the site was demolished in February to make way for the new store.

At 14,500 square feet, the Belfast Walgreens is a standard size for the chain, Aitken said.

PM Construction has built Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS stores in Maine, and Aitken said that the interiors of the Walgreens stores are typically very similar from one to the next, but exterior treatments differ based on local codes.

He offered the store in Scarborough, built in 2009, which included an unused second story, complete with large windows that were installed, he said, to conform to a two-story requirement for buildings in the downtown.

That building had a brick exterior. At the city's request, the Belfast store sports composite clapboards. The low, monument-style sign in front of the store was also the result of negotiations with the Planning Board.

The new Walgreens is located two doors down from competitor Rite Aid, an arrangement that Vincent Guest of Walgreens said is very common.

"It's like McDonald's and Burger King," he said.

While the difference between Walgreens and Rite Aid may not be as obvious as fried versus flame-broiled, Guest said he believed customers would be impressed with the service at the new store.

 

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