By Howard Koplowitz
Community leaders and employees of the new Walgreens on Farmers Boulevard in St. Albans joined City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) to cut the ribbon Tuesday on the southeast Queens drugstore that employs 14 people — all from the neighborhood.
“This is going to be a big benefit to the boulevard,” Comrie said, noting he hopes the store will encourage other big retailers to set foot in southeast Queens. Walgreens is the largest drugstore chain in the United States.
The Walgreens at 112-55 Farmers Blvd. replaces an Associated Supermarket that closed about five years ago.
The 14 community residents were hired by Walgreens through a job fair held at Comrie’s district office.
“Everybody we hired came from that job fair,” said Jerry Telson, district manager of Walgreens. “Everybody’s from the community.”
Store Manager Devon Grant said the drugstore is “looking forward to working in the community and to giving people the standard that they come to expect from Walgreens.”
Grant also touted the events the retailer holds in the community,
“We have a bus that goes around a couple of times a year for health screenings,” he said.
Glenn Greenridge, land use liaison for the Farmers Boulevard Community Development Corp., said he was pleased that Walgreen’s decided to open up in St. Albans.
“It’s going to have people stay in the community instead of going outside the community,” Greenridge said, referring to downtown Jamaica, Linden Boulevard and the Green Acres Mall. “We’re looking to have this community be able to shop within walking distance.”
While the ribbon was cut on the store Tuesday, it officially opened last week, Telson said.
Comrie’s office, at 113-43 Farmers Blvd., is a stone’s throw away from the drugstore and he said his staff has been taking advantage of having the store close by.
“My staff has been already purchasing food, supplies and instant meals,” he said. “They’re excited it’s here and they know the store like the back of their hand.”
Comrie also said the community is thrilled to have the Walgreens.
“I think the community’s happy,” he said. “I’ve gotten positive feedback from the community so far.”
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.