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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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55 John F. Kennedy Road. Photo: 2015

WALGREEN COMPANY. Charles R. Walgreen, Sr. was born near Galesburg, Illinois, before his family relocated to Dixon, Illinois. It was here that Walgreen, at the age of 16, had his first experience working in a drugstore.

It was not until 1901 that Walgreen was able to put together enough money for the down payment on his pharmacy. Walgreen succeeded brilliantly. New, bright lights were installed to create a cheerful, warm ambiance in the store. Each customer was personally greeted by Walgreen or his colleague, Arthur C. Thorsen. Aisles were widened, the selection of merchandise was improved and broadened, Prices were kept fair and reasonable.

Whenever a customer in the immediate area telephoned with an order for non-prescription items, Walgreen always repeated - loudly and slowly - the caller's name, address and items ordered. Assistant and handyman Caleb Danner quickly prepared the order, as Walgreen prolong the conversation by discussing everything from the weather to current events. Invariably, Caleb would be at the caller's door before she was ready to hang up. She would then excuse herself and return to the phone amazed at the incredible speed with which her order had been delivered. While Walgreen couldn't do this for customers living farther away, those who did benefit from it were thrilled and delighted to tell their friends about Charles Walgreen and his incredible service.

Chicago's South Side would remain for many years Walgreen's base of operations and the locale for the first wave of stores he was to eventually open. In 1910 Walgreen now had two stores.

Beginning with simple sandwiches, soups and desserts, Walgreen was able to keep his fountain open during the winter and provide his customers with affordable, nutritious, home-cooked meals. And the food was home cooked, thanks to Myrtle Walgreen, Charles' wife. She rose at dawn and finished cooking by 11 a.m., and the food was then delivered fresh to Walgreen's two stores. Through the 1980s, food service was an integral part of the Walgreens story. Every Walgreens was outfitted with comfortable, versatile soda fountain facilities serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just as Walgreen had reasoned, customers coming to the stores for food usually stayed to purchase other necessary items.

By 1913, Walgreens had grown to four stores, all on Chicago's South Side. The fifth Walgreens opened in 1915 and the ninth in 1916. By 1919, there were 20 stores in the chain.

By 1930, Walgreens had well over 500 stores and quickly was becoming the nation's most prominent drugstore chain.

During the GREAT DEPRESSION, Walgreens continued to innovate. It had already become convinced of the value of advertising and remained one of the biggest newspaper advertisers in Chicago as well as other parts of the country. In fact, Walgreens ran the largest promotion campaign in its history - costing more than $75,000 - during 1931. Perhaps even more significant was Walgreens entry into broadcast advertising. Also in 1931, Walgreens became the first drugstore chain in the country to advertise on the radio. During WORLD WAR II, Walgreens established a not-for-profit pharmacy in the Pentagon, a service for which it was formally recognized by President Eisenhower. It was an important marketer of War Bonds during the war effort.

Walgreens was among the very first American companies to establish profit sharing and pension plans, to assure security for its employees. The initial funds for the pension - $500,000 in cash - was contributed by the personal estate of Charles R. Walgreen Sr. in a plan called "a landmark in American industrial relations," by The Chicago Daily News.

Following the war, Walgreens was among the first drugstore chains to see the importance of a new wave in retailing - the "self service" concept - and implement it across all its stores.

With Walgreens insistence on innovation and commitment to customers, growth and prosperity lay ahead. By 1975, more than 1,500 pharmacists in 633 stores filled close to 30 million prescriptions annually, four times the 7.5 million dispensed in 1962 and five million more than in 1972.

By this time, a third Walgreen was at the helm: Charles R. "Cork" Walgreen III. Like his predecessors, he realized continued prosperity could only come through continued progress.

By 1984, Walgreens opened its 1,000th store. On December 31, 2014 Walgreens took its products and services to the four corners of the world with the completion of its merger with Alliance Boots, a leading international pharmacy-led health and beauty group. With the completion of the merger comes the formation of a new global company, Walgreens Boots Alliance, combining two leading companies with iconic brands, complementary geographic footprints, shared values and a heritage of trusted health care services through pharmaceutical wholesaling and community pharmacy care, dating back more than 100 years each.

The 1934 Dubuque City Directory through 1948 Dubuque Classified Business Directory listed 813 Main.

The 1972 through 1993 Dubuque City Directory listed KENNEDY MALL.

The 2015 city directory listed 55 John F. Kennedy Road, 2260 John F. Kennedy Road, and 345 E. 20th Street



Company Information. Online: https://nortonsafe.search.ask.com/web?q=Walgreen+Company&o=APN12178&prt=SSS&chn=SRVY_STMTRX_001&ver=