Folks who expect the new Longs Drugs Store on Sperry Avenue to be similar to Longs’ old 6,600-square-foot, downtown wooden structure may be in for a surprise.
Giant green wooden columns and dark red stucco archways greet patrons at the new 13,000-square-foot store, which includes a drive-through pharmacy, an expanded cosmetics area and a soon-to-come one-hour photo lab.
“It’s a great thing,” pharmacy manager Sam Rodriguez said. “We’re no longer a small-town pharmacy.”
The opening of the new store, which quietly moved to 1080 Sperry Ave. on Saturday, also marks the start of the developing Patterson Plaza Shopping Center on the southwest corner of Ward and Sperry avenues. The retail center will also include a Taco Bell, which should be open by June 2008 if all goes as planned.
The new drug store was abuzz with activity during its official “soft opening” day Monday, with many local residents coming in to take a look, shop or pick up their medication.
“It’s a nice store,” local resident Agnese Friedrich said. “People are really going to patronize it.”
The new store ultimately may have 30 to 35 workers, compared to about 20 people at the old store, manager Rosanna Murata said. She and others were busy working out some of the kinks Monday, as Murata spent time driving back and forth between the old and the new stores.
“It’s been crazy,” Murata said.
The addition of new amenities comes as good news to local resident Jennifer Gonzalez, who said she was happy to see more gift items available at the new Longs Drugs Store.
“It’s about time,” she said of the new store’s opening.
Gonzalez said her big frustration with Patterson is its lack of shopping options, and she was glad to see the improvements.
Corporate officials also expressed enthusiasm about the new store.
“We’re excited about it,” said Phyllis Proffer, spokeswoman for Walnut Creek-based Longs Drugs Stores.
Proffer said the company had success with its downtown Patterson store and is happy about the expansion. The company also has a distribution center in town in west Patterson’s Keystone Pacific Business Park.
The former downtown store at South Del Puerto Avenue and El Circulo will remain vacant at least until May 2008, when the lease expires. Longs had used that building, formerly occupied by Patterson Drug, since 2003.
City Manager Cleve Morris said last week at a city Economic Strategic Committee meeting that there have been talks with a potential user, though he could not say what it was.
Joe Hollowell, of Sperry Commercial LLC, which is developing the Patterson Plaza Shopping Center, said his company is in talks with another large tenant at the new Longs shopping center, though he would not give specifics.
He said he is pleased with the store’s new look.
“I’m tickled to death,” he said. “… It’s a great image to have as you’re coming into Patterson.”
The intersection of Sperry and Ward avenues continues to cement itself as Patterson’s main retail hub.
Several new retailers, including a 10,032-square-foot Dollar Tree discount store and a 5,200-square-foot Sherwin-Williams paint store, are getting close to opening at the Patterson Marketplace shopping center across the street.
The shopping center, anchored by Save Mart Supermarkets, will include three new buildings.
A Walgreen’s drug store has received city planning commission approval on the northeast corner of Ward and Sperry avenues, but must still get City Council approval.
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