Walgreens Moving In, Forcing Others Out

Walgreens Moving In, Forcing Others Out

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John Hollenhorst ReportingAre we drifting toward a new America where everything looks alike, a sort of Generica America? Well, it's probably an exaggeration. But there are some straws in the wind causing concern around 33rd South and Highland Drive.

The Flower Patch will sell its last flowers at this location on Memorial Day. It's soon to be replaced, apparently by a Walgreen's, looking pretty much like thousands of other Walgreen's around the country. Jolene Norton and her daughter will be out of a job, Jolene after 17 years cutting and selling flowers.

Jolene Norton: "You know when you work for a company that long, you start feeling kind of family type things."

Next door, independently owned Hyland Pharmacy will also be forced out when the lease expires at the end of June.

Greg Myers, Part-Time Pharmacist: "Here, you just get the feeling almost that your an extended part of their family, which is kind of a neat feeling."

At Hyland Pharmacy you can get a greeting card for any occasion. We found one that really seems to fit called 'A Farewell Ode'. 'We're sorry that you have to go,' it says. 'This place won't be the same. Is someone here responsible? We must know who's to blame.’

It's not a person, it's a trend. Here and around the valley, older, smaller, locally owned businesses are being replaced by big-box stores and national chains.

Jolene Norton: "I don't like it. They're kind of taking over the country, taking over the valley here."

Walgreen's national office says no final deal has been signed for 33rd and Highland. But the county gave preliminary approval last fall to another Walgreen's.

Also biting the dust will be Patagonia Outlet and a two-story apartment building.

Walgreen's has grown recently from 1,500 stores to 4,400. In Utah, from zero to 12 with more stores coming, a spokesman says. It proves Walgreen's is filling a need, he told us. "We wouldn't be growing if customers weren't buying our merchandise."

Jolene Norton: "I feel like they have a product, but they don't have to be on every corner."

Of course, they're not--not yet.

The family-owned Flower Patch will continue to operate at a dozen other locations in Utah. Hyland Pharmcy will move into a new building a couple of blocks away.

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