The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

August 20, 2011

Wally Kennedy: Walgreen’s to reopen both stores Monday

By Wally Kennedy

JOPLIN, Mo. — Monday will be a big day for two of the three stores that Walgreen’s operates in Joplin.

The Walgreen’s at 20th and Main streets sustained significant damage on May 22. It was at the north edge of the tornado’s damage zone. It has had a major makeover.

The Walgreen’s at 20th Street and South Range Line Road was destroyed by the tornado. The most remarkable thing about the rebuilding of that store is that it took just nine days to get the walls up and a roof on the building.

Louis Niewald, the manager of that store, said, “The people who built this store felt the community’s energy. It helped that more people than normal were working on it. Also, we had steel en route for another store and they rerouted it to us. It all fell into place for us.’’

Both stores open at 8 a.m. Monday.

Special activities are planned at both stores from 4 to 8 p.m. Free food and drinks, crafts for kids by Lowe’s and Home Depot, facepainting, music and door prizes are planned.

 Free blood-pressure, blood-sugar and bone-density checks also will be available. Free diabetic test meters by Abbott will be given away. Doctors also will be available to answer questions about diabetes.

At the 20th and Range Line store, the Run Around will host a half-mile run for kids. The St. John’s mammogram bus will be on site.

Niewald gave some details about the night of May 22 and the days after.

All of Walgreen’s employees were accounted for by 7 p.m. that night. All employees stayed employed with no hourly reductions. The store at Seventh Street and Maiden Lane was turned into a 24-hour location to accommodate the increase in customer demand.

The company had a full-service pharmacy available at 20th and Main streets by the following Sunday and another one set up at 20th and Range Line four days after that.

The store at 20th and Main donated thousands of tetanus shots for Heart to Heart to administer for free. As many as 700 shots were given in one day. That store also served as a hub for triaging patients with minor injuries for several weeks after the tornado.

New grill coming

Qdoba Mexican Grill, which got its start in 1995 at Denver, Colo., is opening a new restaurant in part of the storefront that once housed Fuddrucker’s at 3102 E. Seventh St. Look for them to open around the first of November.

The company story goes something like this: Anthony Miller and partner Robert Hauser imported San Francisco’s mission-style burrito to Colorado. Qdoba immediately won over customers and critics with the restaurant’s Mexican flavors and fresh ingredients. The company has grown to 540  restaurants from coast to coast.

Randy Allen, a co-owner of 12 of the restaurants in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, is from Lamar.

There are three restaurants in Springfield, one each in Rogers and Fayetteville, Ark., and five in Tulsa, Okla.

Stay tuned for more details.

Won’t be long now

The target date for the opening of the rebuilt Chick-Fil-A at 2127 S. Range Line Road is Sept. 1.

If it’s anything like the first opening, traffic will be backed up on Range Line. Make no mistake about it, this is a Chick-Fil-A town.

If you have news about something happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, dial 417-623-3480, ext. 7250; or send an e-mail to; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 417-623-8598.