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The Farmacias del Ahorro chain, which opened its first pharmacy in Chiapas in 1991, announced the arrival of 10 stores in Tijuana, announcing the move with a four-page wraparound ad in El Mexicano newspaper on Monday.
The first page of the ad had El Mexicano's usual flag, the headline for its lead story (on hundreds of cars being seized for lacking proper papers, having cracked windshields, etc.) and some references to other top stories, including the San Diego Chargers' 22-10 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday and Jaime Flores Martínez's "Cicuta" (Hemlock) hit-piece column on Tijuana business leader Juan Hernández Niebla.
The pharmacy chain, which the newspaper El Universal said has more than 1,000 stores in Mexico, has a strong Internet component, savings cards, home delivery, free doctor consultations, and its own store brand of drugs.
In May, Tijuana's Agencia Fronteriza de Noticias noted that Farmacias del Ahorro was coming to town, but wondered how it would do considering the vast number of pharmacies the city already has.
Mario Borghino of Neo magazine wrote in June that the chain's director general, Antonio Leonardo Castañón, credits the company's success to its prices (Farmacias del Ahorro means Pharmacies of Savings), locations, selection, and service. The writer said the chain's emphasis on technology has allowed it to be more efficient and to anticipate its customers' needs and wants. He said stores stay open 24 hours 365 days a year so clients can get drugs when they need them, and that 18 million people have the chain's discount card. He said the chain has 850 stores and was planning for 1,500, although the newspaper El Universal reported in 2012 that Farmacias del Ahorro already had 1,000 pharmacies. El Universal said about 10% of the stores are franchises.
The chain calls itself the No. 1 pharmacy in Mexico. A Dinero en Imagen story last year cited a Young and Rubicam study as saying 32% of Mexicans preferred Farmacias Similares, 23.9% Farmacias del Ahorro, 16.3% Farmacias Guadalajara and 14.8% Farmacias París.
El Mexicano's second front page (on Page 3 on this day), with the stories about the confiscated vehicles and the damage Hurricane Odile did to Bahía de los Angeles in the southern part of Baja California. Odile did major damage to Baja California Sur, stranding large numbers of people, including Mike Brito, the Los Angeles Dodger scout who discovered Fernando Valenzuela.
Update, Sept. 30: The 10 pharmacies were inaugurated simultaneously on Monday, Sept. 29, El Mexicano reported on its front page. The story said the pharmacies will generate 200 jobs, and said the chain planned to open 200 stores in Baja California.