Longs plans second distribution center
Longs Drug Stores Corp. is revisiting plans to build a second distribution center in Hawaii as it ramps up to compete with rival Walgreen Co., which opened its first store on Oahu this month.
The Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Longs has hired international architecture and engineering firm Leo A. Daly and is considering multiple sites for the new facility.
The retailer wants to improve efficiency and productivity as it increases its store count over the next five years, including nearly 200 additional stores in Hawaii, California and Nevada, said Longs spokeswoman Phyllis Proffer.
"We've been down this path before, obviously since the mid-1990s, but now we're revisiting it again ... and we're looking at what all our options are," Proffer said.
The company, which has 509 stores chainwide, including 36 in Hawaii, already has one distribution center in the islands, near Honolulu International Airport.
Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens, which has more than 6,000 stores nationwide, is expected to pose significant competition for Longs, which has had more than 50 years in Hawaii.
"It's about time Longs woke up and smelled the competition," said Marty Plotnick, a local marketing analyst for 33 years. "The competition is so much larger than they are, they're so much more aggressive nationally and they've gone into many other services."
Walgreens' store at the former Tower Records site on Keeaumoku Street, which opened Nov. 1, is the first of at least four to open in Hawaii over the next year. The company eventually plans to open between 25 to 30 stores in Hawaii.