Walgreens Goes Upscale
Ubiquitous drug store opens high-end flagship store in Chicago.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: January 12th, 2012
When you think of Walgreen's, you probably imagine stopping by after a visit to your doctor to pick up some medicine, heading over on your way to the beach for some last-minute sunblock, or running in on your way home from work to pick up a few essentials when you don't want to hit your usual mega-grocery store. But now, the company is opening a flagship store in Chicago's Loop that will include such luxuries as a barista, self-serve frozen yogurt, an international newsstand, sushi, juice bars, and... a humidor? Yes, a humidor. At Walgreens.
The new, upscale location will be located at State and Randolph and will be 27,350 square feet. Take a quick second and compare that to your own home's square footage, and then pick up your jaw off the floor. We'll wait.
Walgreen's occupied the same location from 1926 until 2005, when it turned into a Loehmann's. Obviously, Loehmann's has since closed and Walgreen's will move right back in. Ah, memories.
In addition to the aforementioned amenities, the flagship store also has an upscale cosmetics department that will offer makeovers and manicures. Also available for purchase will be wine, spirits, fresh food, and cigars from the humidor.
It's the latest in a string of typically humble stores revamping their image; McDonald's recently rolled out a revamp of a handful of its restaurants as well, and by 2015, it hopes to have changed all of its 14,000 locations over to the new look. Gone are the neon yellow and bright red vinyl seating. Instead, diners will enjoy wooden tables, faux-leather chairs, and more subdued oranges, yellows, and greens. The shift comes from trying to compete with other fast-food chains like Wendy's and Burger King, but also to pull customers from slower-paced fast-food chains like Panera Bread. The new designs are intended to feel much less like you're getting a Happy Meal and more like a place you'd want to meet a friend for coffee.
As for the Walgreen's store, its grand opening was Monday, January 9th, and both Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn attended.
[Source: Chicago Tribune]