Walgreen Co. opened a pair of flagship stores within a few days in two of the East Coast’s largest cities late last month.

Walgreens, flagship stores, Washington D.C., Empire State Building, New York City, Mark Wagner, Walgreens stores, Nimesh Jhaveri, pharmacy, health care

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Inside This Issue - News

Two more Walgreens flagship stores debut

April 8th, 2013

WASHINGTON – Walgreen Co. opened a pair of flagship stores within a few days in two of the East Coast’s largest cities late last month.

The newest units — in Washington D.C.’s Chinatown area and in the Empire State Building in New York City — are the seventh and eighth Walgreens flagship stores.

Separated into three distinct areas, the newest stores mirror the approach Walgreens has taken with its previous flagship units in Chicago, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Executives note that the overall approach of these stores is to create a symbiotic relationship among their three main product areas — front end, pharmacy, and health and wellness — so that each supports the others.

“Everything we do in one area drives our business in the other areas,” president of operations and community management Mark Wagner said the day before the Washington store officially opened. “We’re going to win in health and wellness, we’re going to win in beauty, and we’re going to win in convenience.”

The company’s flagships, he pointed out, serve as testing grounds for many of the concepts that will shape the direction of Walgreens stores across the country. “These are the test tubes for product innovation,” Wagner said. “What we do here that is successful can then be adjusted and brought into other stores.”

One of the most obvious of those innovations is the approach the two latest flagship stores take to pharmacy. In an effort to encourage greater interaction between pharmacists and patients, Walgreens has positioned the pharmacists in its newest stores at a desk in front of the pharmacy counter.

“We have an expert at our shoppers’ convenience that we have not traditionally leveraged,” executive director of pharmacy and health care experience Nimesh Jhaveri said at the Washington opening. “What this does is make our stores an entry point into the health care system. It has made our pharmacists key adjuncts to physicians.”

To free up the pharmacist to do more consulting with and educating of patients, Walgreens has shifted most of the duties that used to take pharmacists away from their role as health care providers to an off-site location.

In addition, the company employs certified technicians in its newest pharmacies to fill prescriptions and do data entry, requiring pharmacists only to review the prescription before it goes to the patient and freeing them up to be more of a front-line health care provider.

“Every clinician is going to have the opportunity to be at the top of their profession,” Jhaveri said. “The focus needs to be on the care we provide and not on the products we provide.”