Walgreen Co. is set to open a new, two-story flagship store on Chicago's historic State Street that sports expanded pharmacy and front-end offerings plus other innovative features not found in a traditional drug store.

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In Chicago, Walgreens readies new flagship store

January 9th, 2012

CHICAGO – Walgreen Co. is set to open a new, two-story flagship store on Chicago's historic State Street that sports expanded pharmacy and front-end offerings plus other innovative features not found in a traditional drug store.

Walgreens said the new store at the at the corner of State and Randolph streets in the Windy City is set to open at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 10. The drug chain noted that the store marks a return to the landmark location of 151 N. State St. for the company, which operated a store at that corner from 1926 to 2005.

"This store brings together our most innovative, forward-thinking initiatives under one stunning roof, and we couldn't be more proud to make its debut in our hometown," Walgreens president and chief executive officer Greg Wasson said in a statement on Monday. "Just as we did with our store here in the 1920s, we're again offering the ultimate in service, convenience, assortment and community pharmacy. Customers will be delighted by a drug store unlike anything they've ever experienced."

According to Walgreens, the flagship store on State Street will include the next-generation pharmacy concept from its "health and daily living store" retail pilots, including an "Ask Your Pharmacist" desk that positions the pharmacist up front to spur interaction with patients. The department also features an iPad-equipped "health guide" who helps pharmacy customers navigate Walgreens' range of health and wellness products, services and resources, including immunizations and health tests.

Also in the pharmacy area are consultation rooms, a "Health Corner" for health and wellness community events, and Express Rx kiosks for speedy prescription refills, as well as an adjacent Take Care Clinic.

In the front end, the Upmarket Cafe offers customers a barista preparing fresh-brewed premium coffee, including the exclusive State and Randolph brand, and a bakery will serve fresh baked breads and pastries daily. There also is a juice bar featuring fresh fruit and vegetables and made-to-order smoothies, and the store will serve chocolate malted milkshakes, invented by a Walgreens soda fountain manager in 1922. Customers, too, can opt for self-serve frozen yogurt.

Other consumables offerings in the State Street store, Walgreens said, include a wide variety of hand-rolled sushi and sashimi prepared daily; hundreds of fresh food items including produce and on-the-go meals such as wraps, sandwiches and salads; a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine dispensing 130 varieties of Coca-Cola fountain drinks; and a "best-in-class" wine department with over 700 fine wines plus artisan and brie cheeses and an assortment of specialty meat, chocolate and more.

Beauty care will also be a hallmark of the new Chicago flagship store, which will house a Look Boutique beauty department featuring prestige and niche cosmetic, skin care and hair care brands not typically found in drug stores, Walgreens noted. Specially trained beauty advisers will be on hand as well to help customers finding the best products for their beauty needs.

In addition, a nail care bar will offer professional manicures with the latest colors from essie and OPI; expert shaping and grooming services will be available at the eyebrow bar; and customers will be able to try new cosmetic shades and styles at the Virtual Makeover kiosk.

"This unique urban retailing concept raises the bar for drug store retailing and sets us apart in our industry," stated Joe Magnacca, president of daily living products and solutions at Walgreens. "As we transform from a traditional drug store to a retail health and daily living destination, this store demonstrates how we are a central part of life for many who live and work in this dynamic and thriving community. We look forward to serving them with this new shopping and wellness experience for years to come."

The new Chicago flagship store builds on previous innovations that Walgreens debuted in high-profile locations in Manhattan, such as the 40 Wall Street store opened in July by its Duane Reade subsidiary and the Times Square Walgreens store opened in November 2008, which features a huge digital billboard.