Walgreens is an American company and the second-largest chain of pharmacy stores in the United States. In addition to its primary task which is filling prescriptions and selling medicines and treatments, Walgreens sells a large range of health and care products including vitamins and supplements, home health care solutions, personal care and cosmetics, among many others. The company, which operates more than 9,200 stores in the United States, also provides a full online printing photo service called Walgreens Photo.
Charles Rudolph Walgreen, son of Swedish immigrants, was born in 1873 in Galesburg, Illinois. The Walgreen family moved to Dixon shortly after he was born. A sports fan, the young Charles was considering a career as an athlete but he had to change his goals at 16, when he cut off the top joint of his middle finger while working in a local shoe factory. So Charles took a job at Horton's Drugstore, started off as an apprentice and became a pharmacist. He left Horton's a year and a half later, in 1893, then moved to Chicago and worked for several pharmacists. In 1901, he had saved enough money to buy the pharmacy in which he was working. His hard work and incredible customer service allowed him to open a second store in 1909 and by 1920, the newly established Walgreen Co. was operating 20 stores. At that time, all pharmacy stores had a fountain and sold soda and ice cream during the summer. In 1922 and in order to provide his customers with a beverage in winter too, Walgreen invented his legendary hot malted milkshake. In 1926, Walgreen Co. celebrated the opening of its 100th store in Chicago and 3 years later, the company was operating more than 500 locations in the country. Not only did Walgreen Co. survive the Great Depression but it also continued to grow. Charles Walgreen died at the age of 66, in 1939, leaving the company to his son, Charles Walgreen Jr. Charles Walgreen III became the company's president 30 years later and in 1984, the 1,000th store opened in Chicago. Charles Walgreen III retired in 2010.
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