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Emanuel Says ‘Wal-Mart,’ Means ‘Walgreens’

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announces plans by Walgreens to bring 600 jobs to the Chicago area over the next two years. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — If you get in front of microphones enough times, every so often you are certain to slip up.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports, on Wednesday it was Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s turn.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports

The scene was a Walgreens store at 86th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue for the announcement of 600 new jobs with the drugstore giant, and nearly 40 new stores, coming to the city for the next two years.

Mayor Emanuel started things off this way: “First of all, I’m glad to be here with the Wal-Mart family.” But he quickly corrected himself and said, “Walgreens.”

“I’ll tell you exactly how that happened,” Emanuel said following a laugh among everyone present.

Mayor Emanuel explained his brain cramp, saying he had just told the Walgreens chief executive officer Gregory Wasson that Wal-Mart is changing its business model because of the success Walgreens is having.

Both Walgreens and Wal-Mart are in the headlines Tuesday. Wal-Mart is in the news for the revelation that it plans to open not one, but two, stores in the East Lakeview neighborhood – a community where the retailer has met with hostility since the first peep about a possible store in the area back in December.

Crain’s Chicago Business reported Wal-Mart had already signed a lease for a 14,086-square foot space in the old Recycled Paper Greetings building at 3636 N. Broadway. The building was sold in May, and building permits have already been filed, according to documents from the Belmont Harbor Neighbors Association.

The other planned Wal-Mart would be a 30,000 square-foot Neighborhood Market store in the Broadway at Surf retail complex a mile to the south. That store has met with protests from neighbors who believe it will drive small businesses to extinction and rob the neighborhood of its character.

Coincidentally, there is a Walgreens next door to the 3636 N. Broadway building where Wal-Mart plans to locate.

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