How green is your Walgreens?

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By Dan Haley

Editor and Publisher

It was nice while it lasted. Having the world's greenest Walgreens, I mean. Oak Park has been crowing about that drug store at Madison Street and Oak Park Avenue the way a mom touts a first-born. After Wright and Hemingway, the green Walgreens has actually been drawing eco-tourists, we are told.

"Hey, let's motor over to the Midwest and take in that green Walgreens!" are words I don't believe have actually been spoken. But do some store execs fly in for field trips? I suppose.

Now, though, Walgreens is about to outdo itself in arch-rival Evanston. After first presenting a cookie-cutter redo of an existing store, Walgreens came back to Evanston officials with a brand new store concept that includes wind turbines and a solar roof that looks positively cosmic. "Uber-green" is how the Evanston Roundtable described the store, which is expected to be LEED certified to the platinum level. Wow, platinum.

Now we're left merely green with envy.

And shouldn't Walgreens have an apostrophe in it? It was Charles Walgreen. Not Charles Walgreens. And is the village ever going to relent and let Walgreens just lease the most visible corner of that building instead of letting it sit empty for another two years?

I was in the non-green Walgreens plopped in the middle of the asphalt topography of the River Forest Town Center last week. Stuck behind the nice lady with the candy and the coupons that corresponded to each confection. Enjoyed the dialogue when the clerk told her that coupons now work at Walgreens only if you have the new Walgreens Balance loyalty card. Call me old-fashioned but when you go to the trouble of gathering up a coupon, seems like it ought to work just because isn't that what a flippin' coupon is supposed to do?

On the other hand, I don't always go to drug stores, but when I do, friends, I prefer the green Walgreens not because it is green but because the people who work there do not seem suicidal like the employees at the CVS store on Madison. Is that the most depressing place to buy lip balm in the world or what?!

Meanwhile, across the street the hideously ticky-tack Dryvit coating on the old Comcast building is being pried off day by day. With any sense, they can recycle it directly into an incinerator.

As predicted, there is a very handsome 1920s brick-and-steel car dealership under the wrapping. Now you can be a fan of the future use of the site as an affordable-housing project or you can hate everything about that concept. But everyone has to agree that one of the ugliest buildings in Oak Park is about to be restored.

Tigers lost the World Series to the Giants four games to zero. And the Tigers beat the White Sox. Whoo boy. Not good.

If you wanted national political talk you probably wouldn't turn to page five of the local paper. But in the event I haven't mentioned this before, I'm a big Barack Obama backer. Defend him from the crazy people on the right. Defend him from the differently-crazy people on the left. President Obama lives and governs in my middle, a little left, sometimes a little right, world.

The closeness of this race is giving me palpitations. I want it to be over. But only if the president wins.

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RLM from Oak Park  

Posted: November 1st, 2012 9:36 PM

The Walgreens is beautiful and green; but the selection is far less than other non-green Walgreens. I no longer go there because I will inevitably have to make 2 stops.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: November 1st, 2012 3:10 PM

Wahlgreen on Madison and Oak Park Avenue is a nice store. The staff is friendly, cooperative, and helpful. It is clean and neat. The only real problems is a lack of selection on non-drug products and its decision that the vacant part of the building would make a great closet for all the junk they don't know what to do with. I am not sure if the village is keeping the retail space from being occupied, but the huge King Leasing sign has been on the window since Wahlgreen was opened. The message given by the sign and cluttered closet is that retail at the location is not working. If the message is true, the financials at Grove Apartments become questionable. It was widely known and discussed that if the retail location on the first floor was not occupied, then a major cash flow problems from startup. I don't think the King Leasing sign on a cluttered closet window is helping the Grove Apartment developers in finding retail for a site that they identified as a challenge before the board when seeking village approval.

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