"The heart of the store - the primary source of profit - was the prescription department. Walgreen filled the prescriptions and took pride in the work being done."
Innovating for customers, employees and the industry as a whole
From the 1940s to today, the story of Walgreens is the story of a company that has never rested on its laurels, finding ever-new ways to satisfy its customers and stay ahead of the curve in operating its business.
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
As Illinois Governor James Thompson said to mark that occasion,
"Walgreens has been a pioneer, not just in pharmaceuticals, but in retail service as well, since 1901. It's not just that Walgreens is an old and famous name in Chicago, and Illinois, and across the nation. There are many old and famous names that aren't with us anymore."
"Walgreens is not only with us, it is thriving."
"I think that's because of their quality and leadership in innovation. People depend upon them because their service and products are consistent, from store to store, year to year, customer to customer."
"In this life of uncertainty, people from my generation like to reach back and cling to the 'good old days.' Sometimes the good old days never really existed except in our imaginations. Walgreens good old days always existed, and the very comforting thing is that they're still here!"