Logistics, Warehousing & Distribution

WI: Walgreen Co. Expands Distribution Facility in DeForest, 115 New Jobs

17 Jun, 2013

Walgreen Co., based in Deerfield, Ill., is expected to create up to 115 jobs, at its distribution center in DeForest, Wisconsin. As part of the expansion, the company will implement its nationally recognized model of creating opportunities for people with disabilities. An unrelated multi-million dollar upgrade of equipment and leasehold improvements is underway at the facility.

“As our company has grown in the region, our distribution center in DeForest has become vital to keeping our stores stocked with health and daily living products our customers need,” said Rob Varno, Walgreens area director of distribution centers and fleet. “The new employees we will hire will allow us to continue helping people get, stay and live well.”

The company is eligible for $2 million in tax credits through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

“Walgreens has been an important business partner in the DeForest community. This expansion will expand job opportunities, especially for people with disabilities,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “We’re pleased to be able to partner with Walgreens in their expansion of its distribution center.”

Supplying drugstores in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and South Dakota, the DeForest site is one of Walgreens’ oldest distribution facilities, built in 1982. The company employs approximately 1,000 people in DeForest. Full use of the facility after the new hiring takes place is expected by fall 2013.

Walgreens is nationally recognized for its initiatives to create job opportunities for people with disabilities both in its drugstores and distribution facilities. The company began designing its distribution center facilities and training for people with disabilities with the opening of its facility in Anderson, S.C., in 2007. The Anderson center, followed by the opening of another similar facility in Windsor, Conn., in 2009, has helped drive opportunity, efficiency and productivity for the entire workforce. On average, over the last two years, one out of three new hires in Walgreens distribution centers has been a person with a disability.

Last year, Walgreens in Wisconsin launched its Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative, a program with the goal of helping people with disabilities gain retail and customer service skills that can lead to new job opportunities. The program has delivered more than 30 retail training sessions for people with disabilities in drugstores throughout the state. The company has hired more than 15 qualified people with disabilities as a result.

Walgreens is the largest drugstore chain in the United States, with 8,096 retail locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Walgreens has 226 retail operations in approximately 125 Wisconsin communities.

The tax credits will be distributed annually in direct relation to the number of jobs retained over a three-year period, based on the number of new, full-time positions created.

About Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing Wisconsin’s business climate. WEDC nurtures business growth and job creation by providing resources, technical support and financial assistance to companies, partners and communities in Wisconsin. WEDC has four focus areas: business and industry development, economic and community development, entrepreneurship and innovation and international business development. Together with more than 600 regional and local business development partners, it represents a highly responsive and coordinated network. Visit www.inwisconsin.com or follow WEDC on Twitter  @_InWisconsin to learn more.