Inside This Issue - News
Walgreens opens 8,000th store
December 17th, 2012
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Walgreen Co. has opened two more flagship stores in rapid succession, in a historic bank building in Chicago, and in Hollywood, Calif., at Sunset and Vine.
Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson at the flagship store opening in Hollywood.
The latter, besides being the chain’s first flagship outlet on the West Coast, is its 8,000th store and the first to present the No7 skin care brand from Boots.
The line’s rollout follows Walgreens’ acquisition in June of a 45% stake in Alliance Boots, the U.K.-based international health and beauty retailer and pharmaceutical wholesaler.
For the Chicago unit, in the historic Noel State Bank building at the northwest corner of North and Damen avenues in Bucktown/Wicker Park, Walgreens took pains to preserve the structure’s architectural integrity.
Constructed in 1919, the neoclassical building was designed by Gardner C. Coughlen. The original occupant fell victim to a bank run during the Great Depression and the building has housed several different banks over the decades, the last being Midwest Bank, which closed several years ago.
Over the last two years, Walgreens worked closely with the city’s Commission on Chicago Landmarks on the building restoration. The exterior is clad entirely in ornamental terra cotta. Large windows are divided by rising pilasters topped with Corinthian capitals, and a prominent cornice wraps around the rounded corner of the building.
Extensive restoration took place on the building’s coffered plaster ceiling, which features abundant nonsymmetrical hexagons that frame griffins and other ornate designs, all of which form into successive yet subtle Star of David patterns. At the center is a large stained glass window with a six-point star design.
Walgreens also restored the interior columns topped with pilasters and the original bank vault, which has been repurposed as a “Vitamin Vault” in the store’s health and wellness section. The original cast iron safe entrance, with visible locking gears, leads customers into a unique vitamin and supplement section. Original bank lockboxes open and display various vitamin products.
“It was thrilling to restore this architectural gem once again into a thriving business anchor,” said Joe Magnacca, Walgreens president of daily living products and solutions. “This flagship store will provide customers with a unique shopping experience within an iconic building. It’s the latest example of how we are stepping out of the traditional drug store format and helping people get, stay and live well.”
In Hollywood, the 24,000-square-foot store’s opening was attended by celebrities including Kurt Russell, Fergie and Terry Bradshaw.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was on a fact-finding mission in South America, said in a statement. “I’m very proud that Walgreens has chosen Los Angeles for its milestone 8,000th store, and is providing Hollywood residents with more access to pharmacy, health and wellness services.”