The Sterling Highway “Y” intersection has been changing throughout the last year and is now the home of the first Walgreens on the Kenai Peninsula. That is the Y intersection in Soldotna where the Kenai Spur Highway veers off toward the City of Kenai and the Sterling Highway continues to Homer. A longtime forested fork in the road for homesteaders and sojourners to the Kenai Peninsula is now a major destination for Peninsula shoppers. At the official Walgreens grand opening on Sept. 26 there were free hot dogs, gifts and face paintings for kids at the new store. Traci Riddle has moved from her former state of Idaho to manage the new Soldotna store, “It’s going great,” Riddle told the Dispatch, “A lot of the community turned out for free hot dogs, chips, soda and cotton candy and made it a great day for us,” she said. Riddle said she started her career with Walgreens 16 years ago as a pharmacy technician and has worked her way up to store manager. There were also a lot of prize give-a-ways during the big day.
“We had a lot of products that were donated by local vendors, from a Coca-Cola cooler to Alaska outdoor gear and bags, Pepsi donated a snow board and all kinds of great gifts,” she said.
The layout of the spacious, bright store naturally focuses the customer on the Walgreens pharmacy where Riddle and her district manager invited everyone to “please come in” and meet their professional, friendly pharmacists Greg and Ian who are happy to review medications and answer any questions regarding them. Flu shots are also available all week at Walgreens and Riddle encouraged everyone to come in and get their shot at their convenience.
“Don’t wait, the flu season is upon us and the sooner you get vaccinated the better, we also have the high dose for those over age 65 and other vaccinations as well,” she said. The new Walgreens also has many specialty items in stock.
“We also carry a wide variety of products in our beauty department and of course offer everyday low pricing with weekly specials that are the lowest prices in town for sure. As the seasons change we will have a lot of merchandise that has never been seen in the area before especially this Christmas with great sales on toys and holiday goodies,” said Riddle.
After working at Walgreen’s for 16 years, what does Riddle like best about her job? “I love seeing customers come in and finding things they have never seen before and folks who have lived in the lower 48 and have always shopped at Walgreens and tell us how happy they are to have us here. That’s my favorite part so far. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone here at my new home,” said Riddle. Walgreens is open all week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The pharmacy is open 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturdays, and 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. on Sundays.