Walgreen Co. has debuted its latest flagship store in New York City, bringing the format’s Up Market, enhanced beauty offerings and expanded pharmacy to Union Square.

Walgreens, flagship store, Union Square, New York City, Up Market, Skip Bourdo, beauty department, pharmacy, Look Boutique, No7, Duane Reade, Peter Vallone

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Inside This Issue - News

NYC Walgreens store is reborn as flagship

February 3rd, 2014

NEW YORK – Walgreen Co. has debuted its latest flagship store in New York City, bringing the format’s Up Market, enhanced beauty offerings and expanded pharmacy to Union Square.

The 24-hour flagship marks another major renovation for the store on 4th Avenue at 14th Street since its opening in 2001. “We’ve been reborn twice and this is our best version yet,” said Skip Bourdo, Walgreens vice president of stores for New York City and Connecticut.

The latest remodeling, which took almost a year — during which the outlet remained open — more than doubled its size with the addition of a 10,000-square-foot second floor. An escalator runs to the upper floor, which includes the beauty department and pharmacy and stretches a block to 13th Street.

Bourdo said the added space allowed for a dramatic expansion of seasonal and convenience items on the first floor — including frozen food, chilled beverages, soda, water, candy and gum — and a more open, inviting and faster checkout.

The ground floor also has the Up Market, featuring professional chef-rolled sushi, sandwiches, wraps and ready-to-eat cut fruits and vegetables, as well as a barista, smoothie and juice bar, and frozen yogurt with toppings.

Juices and smoothies named for New York landmarks include Statue of Liberty lemonade, Central Park punch, Brooklyn Bridge beet and Alphabet City PB&J.

Frozen yogurt is the market’s best-seller, even in winter, Bourdo said, with such flavors as the currently available pumpkin pie changing with the seasons.

While the store competes with a Food Emporium supermarket across 14th Street and a Whole Foods Market a block away, Bourdo said it thrives by offering fast one-stop shopping and value. A customer can come for a latte and nail polish, pick up a prescription and rapidly check out, he said.

Both the flagship and the Duane Reade unit across 4th Avenue can flourish, he added, because of their distinctive offerings. The new store’s upgraded beauty department notwithstanding, it lacks some of the prestige products of the Look Boutique at the Duane Reade across the avenue. And the Duane Reade has neither sushi nor a juice bar. “We’ve been able to complement each other — and Union Square has plenty of traffic,” Bourdo ­remarked.

The new store’s escalator leads to the enlarged beauty department, marked by a freestanding No7 brand display as well as a presentation of Boots’ Botanics line. The section is staffed by a beauty advisor for Boots products and another advisor for other products. “The training that these young ladies go through has really changed the game at Walgreens as far as beauty goes,” Bourdo ­commented.

Being part of a Well Experience store, the pharmacy, which Bourdo called the outlet’s “crown jewel,” has been remodeled to situate the pharmacist out front for patient interaction. “Our pharmacy manager is able to deliver differentiated patient care,” he said.

The department also has kiosks for express prescription refill pickup, and an immunization room, where patients can also have their blood pressure checked. Screenings will be done in the room pending a change in New York state regulations. “It really feels like a clinical setting,” Bourdo said.

The photo department has “ the latest and greatest creative equipment” including a full lab processing 35 mm film and printing posters, banners, photo books, folded cards and calendars, all via walgreens.com and available in one hour.

Other offerings on the second floor include sundries, school and office supplies, and yoga products targeting urban ­professionals.

For the whole store, Web pickup allows customers to access the entire assortment online and pick up orders in-store. Once an order is picked, the customer will receive an e-mail and/or text message saying it is ready for pickup.

Former New York City council speaker Peter Vallone, who was at the outlet’s 2001 opening, returned for the unveiling of the flagship. He commended Walgreens for opening the unit in “the flagship of cities.”