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Drugstores' plans have boomers in mind

Sign outside the old Liberty Market announces plans to turn the site into a new CVS pharmacy. The Turlock store at Geer and Monte Vista closed in July. Photographed on Wednesday, October 1, 2008. Ted Benson/The Modesto Bee
Sign outside the old Liberty Market announces plans to turn the site into a new CVS pharmacy. The Turlock store at Geer and Monte Vista closed in July. Photographed on Wednesday, October 1, 2008. Ted Benson/The Modesto Bee Modesto Bee

The drug trade is expanding in Stanislaus County.

Rite Aid, CVS and Walgreens are planning to open at least four pharmacies in the next year or so, including two down the street from each other in Turlock.

"The aging of baby boomers is the leading factor," explained Tiffani Bruce, Walgreens' spokeswoman. Her company opened 560 pharmacies nationwide last year. It plans to open one at Roselle and Floyd avenues in Modesto next fall and one on West F Street in Oakdale in early 2010.

Baby boomers -- the massive post-World War II generation -- are reaching their golden years, which is quickly pushing up demand for pharmaceuticals.

And there are more drugs than ever to sell, both over-the-counter and by prescription, Bruce said.

Rite Aid also is expanding, with plans to open 85 stores this year. One of them is being built now at Monte Vista Avenue and Crowell Road in Turlock.

That 17,440-square-foot Rite Aid is scheduled to open Nov. 20. Hiring has begun at the store, where about 25 people are expected to be employed.

That Rite Aid will be across the street from California State University, Stanislaus.

So will a CVS pharmacy.

The CVS will replace the old Liberty Market, which opened at Monte Vista and Geer Road in 1960, before the university was built.

Liberty Market was started by Turlock's Doo brothers -- Jack Sr., George, Ken and Quong Doo -- and it was considered one of the region's first modern grocery stores. It closed this summer after CVS agreed to a long-term lease of the property.

CVS plans to build about a 16,000-square-foot store. No construction schedule has been announced, but it is expected to open in late 2009.

A CVS spokesman said the stores typically hire about 20 people.

Even more jobs may be created by businesses opening next to both the Rite Aid and CVS stores in Turlock.

Two retail buildings are planned near Rite Aid, one with 5,391 square feet and another with 5,161 square feet. Pizza Factory has signed a lease there and expects to open in mid-January, according to the project's leasing agent, Brekke Real Estate.

The CVS site will have about 3,700 square feet of retail space next to it for two or three independent businesses.

"This is definitely an A-plus site," said Lewis Smith of Retail California, the leasing agent for shops next to CVS. "We've had a lot of interest already from quick-service restaurants."

Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at jnsbranti@modbee.com or 578-2196.

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