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Early this morning slightly down the street from Haymaker Shop, a new Walgreens is about to open. The store is situated directly next to Racked 38 favorite, Room Service Chicago and is billed as a new Walgreens Wellness Experience.
You may recall awhile ago when we pointed out the normalcy of the exterior paint job, but as we near closer to the opening of this milestone in Walgreens and Andersonville retail history, we must point out that unlike the paint job, when this Walgrizzle opens it will be one spectacular drug store.
The similarities between the Wall Street Duane Reade are few except for the idea that the store is tailored to the neighborhood. Anyone who knows Andersonville knows that it is known for being independent, with substance and pride.
When purposing this project, according to the new store manager, Krystyna Pepek, Deerfield Illinois-based Walgreen knew there was no way the community would stand for a standard cookie cutter flouro-lit 24-hour store. And as we saw first this morning, there are many new features this store has that no other store has, it's the first of its kind.
This newest location for Walgreens in Chicago (and the U.S.) is coined The Wellness Experience and tailored to assisting the wellbeing of shoppers. We weren't taking photos but you can use your imagination.
The most visible changes to the store design are open windows with automatic blinds in the windows (the morning sunlight feels spectacular when they open). Besides that the entire store has an exposed ceiling and polished concrete flooring which have a more urban and lofty feel.
Creative Merchant and Owner of Room Service Chicago, Paul Lechlinski says "Anytime we get a new tenant in Andersonville who is in tune to the relevance and cool factor of Andersonville, we like it - it says a lot about the neighborhood."
According to Krystyna, the staff will eventually have in-store iPhones and iPads to assist customers in the aisles if they need anything. The beauty department offers lower-hanging natural light lamps as well as additional shelf lighting, toward the back of the store there's a community nook where people in the community will be able to hold meetings or small events.
In the pharmacy, there are several flat screen Jumbo Trons, two other computers available to customers, a private pharmacist consultation room, two touch screens to order prescriptions and the best part - the pharmacist won't be behind the counter - he'll be out on the sales floor interacting with people. This is a much more personal way to interact with someone who's giving you drugs.
Like the newly remodeled Michigan at Chicago Ave location, this Walgreens will sell a ton of fresh fruit, sushi, fancy ice cream, organics, and fresh flowers.
When we asked Paul at Room Service what impact (if any) it would have on his business he had nothing but well-designed thoughts. "It's a vibrant close knit neighborhood with families, and a lot of people walk everywhere. Having Walgreens as a next door neighbor will create brand awareness. Having a national retailer that people will be interested to go to, one that expresses the individuality of the neighborhood. It really effects us, yes, but it really effects the entire community."
· Walgreens [Official Site]
· Room Service Chicago [Official Site]