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VOL. 124 | NO. 209 | Friday, October 23, 2009

Ike’s Plans Expansion to Collierville

By Eric Smith

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NEW IN COLLIERVILLE: Ike’s is coming to West Poplar Avenue in Collierville. Its parent company, Stephen L. LaFrance Pharmacy Inc., bought 1.41 acres and will begin building the 10,000-square-foot store in January. -- RENDERING COURTESY OF FRED REED AND ASSOCIATES

A 10,000-square-foot Ike’s drugstore is coming to West Poplar Avenue in Collierville now that the Arkansas-based company that owns and operates the chain has bought the land and announced plans to begin building after the start of the new year.

Stephen L. LaFrance Pharmacy Inc. of Little Rock – the parent of retail pharmacies Ike’s, Super D, USA Drug, Drug Warehouse and Med-X – paid $812,871 for 1.41 acres on the south side of West Poplar (Tenn. 57) near its intersection with Maynard Way.

The company will shutter its Super D across the street, at 700 W. Poplar Ave., when it opens the Ike’s next spring or summer, weather-dependent. Construction should begin in January. The store will be between a medical clinic and the new Aldi.

Ike’s will have a double-lane drive-through, something the company couldn’t bring to its existing Super D across the street. Also, because it is building a larger, standalone store, Stephen L. LaFrance Pharmacy chose to rebrand the pharmacy as an Ike’s.

That will allow the company to include the Collierville store in its circular advertising efforts, something it does only for its four Memphis Ike’s and not for its Super D’s, said Gain Robinson, vice president of real estate for Stephen L. LaFrance Pharmacy.

“This store, simply because it’s somewhat as large as some of the other Ike’s, will benefit from that circular advertising if we name it an Ike’s,” Robinson said. “If we name it a Super D, we won’t be able to advertise as well for the products in the store because some of our Super D’s are 1,200 square feet and we don’t sell anything above and beyond cough and cold medicine.”

Ease of entrance

As for the location, Robinson said it was important for the company to “stick to its current customer base” and to be situated on the “going home” side of Poplar, meaning most people tend to drive eastward toward home and should find it convenient taking a right into the pharmacy and then another right to exit.

However, the corner of Poplar and Maynard does have a signal, and there is an easement between Aldi and Ike’s that will function as an extension of Maynard, so it will seem like a true intersection.

“Being close to those intersections is good because, one, people stop and look,” Robinson said. “And the other important thing for us is our average customer is a little older and they prefer the protection of a signalized intersection rather than turning left onto Poplar without a turn signal.”

The enhanced visibility will be a boon for the store, which right now is tucked into a strip center across the street. However, building in Collierville brought some changes to the way Stephen L. LaFrance Pharmacy normally would build an Ike’s.

The company had to design its Collierville building differently from the prototypical Ike’s, like the one at Cooper Street and Union Avenue in Midtown, Robinson said. The Collierville store also won’t have a gas station like the Midtown store has.

Not only did the design have to be different, but the company has seen the process take longer than usual. The Ike’s has received approval from the Collierville Mayor and Board of Aldermen, and now the owners will submit their final construction and civil plans. Robinson expects a lengthier process but hopes to break ground after the first of the year.

The architects for the project are Fred Reed and Associates of Pine Bluff, Ark., and Prime Development Group of Memphis. Mike Fahy of Prime Development Group helped Stephen L. LaFrance Pharmacy with its needs specific to Collierville.

Meeting requirements

Colliers Wilkinson Snowden broker Henry Stratton worked with the property seller, Real Practices Inc. He lauded Stephen LaFrance Pharmacy for its willingness to bring an “extremely attractive drugstore” to Collierville, which is known for its stringent design standards.

Stratton, who listed the acreage in September 2007, said this was the property’s third prospective buyer. Real Practices had the property under contract twice before Stephen L. LaFrance Pharmacy came to the table.

First, a group looking to build a combination convenience store/gas station saw its plans fall through. Then, more recently, Murphy Oil Corp. planned to bring a Murphy USA gas station to the site, but the company ran into problems with Collierville’s Design Review Commission and the deal fell through.

Regardless, Stratton said Ike’s is a good fit for the property because it will be next door to the medical practice on Poplar Avenue.

“Patients can get their prescriptions from them, go through the drive-through right next door without having to pull onto Poplar and then exit at a light on Maynard Way,” Stratton said. “It’s really kind of a win-win for both parties there. It was a good fit for both of them. There was no one in the community opposed to this, which is rare for Collierville, also.”

Despite the stricter requirements to develop and build in Collierville, Stratton said the town – with its demographics and above-average incomes – remains in high demand for many retailers.

And having an acre-plus to build something new gave the company the right formula for this new store. The larger pharmacies – like Walgreens and the newcomer to town, CVS – have shifted in that direction.

“Super D was already there, they were in an inline center with no drive-in and most pharmacies now want a drive-in,” he said. “Walgreens won’t erect anything without a drive-in, so this is something they really wanted, and I guess they were willing to jump through the hoops necessary.”

PROPERTY SALES 50 389 12,758
MORTGAGES 21 248 8,003
BUILDING PERMITS 295 813 29,934
BANKRUPTCIES 35 164 6,064