Retailing: MKTG 3740 B
April 7, 2013
I. History and Mission Statement
Walgreens has grown from a small, neighborhood-oriented drug store to a trusted, national pharmacy. Founded in 1901 by Charles R. Walgreen, the company bloomed from a commitment made to perseverance. Walgreen came from Dixon, Illinois at the age of sixteen, working an unpleasant job at a drug store after he lost a portion of a finger that left him incapable of continuing a career in athletics. He left with an ambition of entrepreneurship as the flourishing city of Chicago welcomed him with the booming pharmacy business. Devoted to his goal, Walgreen worked his way through gaining experience and financial stability within the growing industry. His work experience through jobs with different pharmacies allowed Walgreen to analyze the strengths and weaknesses in their business operations. Focusing on the gaps in service and the needs by customers that were not being met, Walgreen had an opportunity to capitalize on the industry’s shortcomings by opening his own pharmacy.
After earning enough money to put a down payment on a loan for the store that he was working in at the time from Isaac Blood, Walgreen finally owned a store in a great location just south side of Chicago in a prosperous area. He renovated the space, employed a colleague, broadened the selection of products offered, and priced at a fair rate to improve efficiency. One of the differentiating strategies that Walgreen implemented was through utilizing his development of the “two-minute” drill. This service allowed a local customer to call Walgreen’s store, request an item, and have it delivered by one of Walgreen’s handymen within two minutes of the customer calling. The good reputation of his service spread quickly among the community.
The next chapter in Walgreens store innovation and competitive edge was his idea to sell hot food items during the winter, cooked by his wife, Myrtle Walgreen. The trend of that time for many businesses was to have a soda fountain that served cold drinks and milkshakes, which Walgreen also served during the hot summer months. His approach to customer service carried through to winter months with the hot food serving, while his competitors failed to keep up with what would eventually become an essential part of drug store business.
Walgreen’s store was growing at a strong pace. By 1929, he had 525 operating stores, 633 in 1975, and hit one thousand open stores in 1984. Today, Walgreens opens around 425 new stores, on average, each year. Through the company’s mission statement, Walgreens strives to be the most trusted and innovative pharmacy with health and wellness solutions and serve consumers across the U.S. Walgreen set out to help people get well and stay well. With constant innovations in technology and customer satisfaction, the company is expected to continue to soar.
II. Key events that shaped the company
Over the past century, there have been economic conditions, changes in demographics, technological advancements, and competitive pressures that Walgreens has had to face and overcome. The first major event that shaped the company was the featuring of the soda fountain in the store in 1909, which lead to the introduction of the malted milkshake that became an American icon. Although a minor triumph at the time, the milkshake attributed to the growth of the company overall.
The next event to affect the company hit hard. The Great Depression was a difficult time for most businesses and many were dying out and closing. Walgreens, though vulnerable itself, was able to push through this time by implementing the value of marketing. Through smart advertising and innovations in customer service, Walgreens not only survived the depression but also was able to help by employing workers and added to its testament of always being able to adapt to the changing times.
After the death of Charles Walgreen in...