The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 24, 2013

Wally Kennedy: Markdowns making way for Walgreens’ conversion

By Wally Kennedy
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — Expect to see some big changes in the weeks ahead at the old May’s Drug Warehouse at 3222 S. Main St.

Walgreens, which bought out all of the Drug Warehouses in the area last year, will convert the store into one of its stores. The conversion is to be completed by April 24, according to Jim Graham, a Walgreens spokesman.

Customers of May’s Drug Warehouse who had prescriptions on file at that location will not have to do anything to switch their prescriptions to Walgreens. That will happen automatically.

As the conversion occurs, Graham said, “customers will see improvements to the store itself as well as the wide array of benefits Walgreens brings to its customers. We will be refreshing the store decor and bringing in new shelving, upgrading the pharmacy, introducing a new merchandising layout and new Walgreens private brands.’’

To prepare for that conversion, all of the non-Walgreens brands in the old store were marked down for clearance last week. I did not know this clearance was happening until it was pretty much over. If you go into the store now, you’ll see a lot of empty shelves. It is my understanding that some people made out like bandits.

Even though I was late to the big markdown, I still managed to pick up some good deals on cold medicine, vitamins and household products.

MOBILE FOOD

As far as I know, Joplin does not have a roving commissary or food truck operating within the city. That’s about to change.

Beau’s Chuckwagon BBQ could be offering up food at a corner near you sometime in April, according to Rod Ford, the owner.

Ford said he has to work out some details with the Joplin Health Department about where his refrigerated goods will be stored. It is my understanding that food trucks are heavily inspected inside and outside.

Mobile restaurants are the fastest-growing segment in the dining industry. In fact, there has been some discussion on a national level about whether the market for food trucks is becoming oversaturated. Experts feel the food truck industry will continue to expand for the next three to five years.

A key reason is geographic expansion. Small and midsized cities, such as Joplin, are considered fertile markets for food truck industry growth. In addition to that, food trucks are becoming popular for special events and catering.

Ford said he plans to operate his food truck in certain locations on certain days of the week.

PIZZA UPDATE

A woman who wants to take her grandchildren to Cici’s Pizza calls me at least once a week wanting to know when the new Cici’s will open in the 1600 block of South Range Line Road.

The next time she calls me, I fully expect her to tell me that she wants to take her grandchildren there while she is still alive.

I checked with the Cici’s people in Springfield on Friday. No word on an opening date and no explanation about why progress has stopped at the site on Range Line.

CHILI REVISITED

A few columns back, I lamented the closing of Fred and Red’s and the loss of chili as a Main Street food option — especially when it’s cold outside.

That really came home to me on Thursday. It was sleeting outside. I had a head cold and congestion. Blue would best describe my mood. I was in desperate need of a hot bowl of chili.

So, for the first time since the closing of Fred and Red’s at this time a year ago, I went out of my comfort zone and tried someone else’s chili. I went to the Eagle Drive-In, 4224 Hearnes Blvd.

After a few spoonfuls, I realized I had made the right choice. This chili is made with prime rib instead of ground hamburger. It’s flavored with all kinds of hot spices. It’s served with melted cheese and chopped onions on top, and plenty of saltines. I felt immediate relief.

You know, sometimes you’ve got to let go of the past — as painful as that might be — and embrace the future. I would have never imagined a bowl of chili could be so symbolic of that.

If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, dial 623-3480, ext. 7250; or send an email to wkennedy@joplinglobe.com; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 623-8598.