It's officially open! Actually, it's been open for over a week now! Duluth's newest Walgreen's location opened last Friday, August 17th, on the corner of Kenwood Road and Arrowhead Road. The new store which encompasses 16,000 square feet of retail space is the companies newest prototype. Surprisingly, it's actually the Minnesota debut (and one of a select few in the country) for Walgreen's newest prototype, the second of it's kind is set to open in the Twin Cities with in the coming months. It may have taken a few years for Walgreen's to finally opening in the Kenwood neighborhood, but boy did it pay off. So what's so different about this new store prototype. Well... everything actually. Picture a typical Walgreens location in your mind (either the Central Entrance location or even their new location on Superior Street), and now throw that image in the trash. It's completely different. The new design basically rids everything a typical Walgreens store was known for and takes the high road of modern style. The ceiling tiles are gone, replaced with an exposed ceiling and dropped down lighting. The tile flooring? Also gone, now replaced with an exposed (and treated) concrete floor. The walls now feature modern graphics and fonts and the pharmacy area has even taken on a more modern feeling sporting a casual sitting area with leather furniture and chic modern lighting. The cooler area now features LED lit lighting and a fresh modern graphic above with the words "Eat Well" hanging on the wall. The store features wider aisles, taller shelves, and a few less products. You may see a negative in featuring less products, but it actually worked out quite well. They basically took out the products people didn't buy as often or need as a necessity. The store now features any product one could need, while leaving out the so so products.
What's the biggest difference? The new cosmetics area really sets the store apart. It feels as if one is setting foot into a higher end cosmetic store such as Sephora or Ulta. Modern pendant lighting hangs from ceiling, while an exposed brick wall painted grey and covered with an image of a woman and the word "Beautiful" give the area a trendy modern feeling. Need help with your cosmetic choices? Don't fret, there still is an employee waiting there to assist you in your every need. What has changed is the cookie cutter counter they were hidden behind. Now it's been replaced with a chic modern, less bulky, counter and service area.
Need a photo printed? That area has changed as well. Instead of being pushed into a corner of the store, the photo center now lies directly next to the registers. It features three stations for printing your own photos, along with the typical photo counter. Another major difference? You can now print posters as the store features a large scale Epson printer capable of printing almost anything ones mind can dream up. And you don't just have to print you photo on photo paper. The store too is capable or printing your favorite photo on matte board for a more sophisticated and finished look.
Ready to check out? Sitting next to the photo center are the checkouts. No longer do you walk down a corridor with checkouts on both sides, rather all are on one side beneath a trendy graphics sign that says "Welcome to Walgreen's" in a modern font with historic Walgreens photos surrounding it. What replaced the other side of registers? Walgreen's followed the latest trend of including a row of every little item a person could need whether it be candy bars, soda, pocket sized tissues, etc. It's all there.
As for the outside? That too has also been updated to feature a more modern look. The store still is clad in brick, but this time instead of the typical shades of red that usually encompass a Walgreen's store, a new lighter color was chosen. Gone are the metal awnings. Instead modern metals covered certain areas of the exterior, while a raised tower like entrance is the focal point. All the walls are straight too, diagonal entrances cannot be found in this prototype! No longer are there narrow slits of windows covering the front of the store either. Instead large expansive windows have been installed spanning towards the ceiling allowing light to freely flow into the store.
My consensus? Walgreen's has done a phenomenal job with their new store. If you thought the Superior Street location was nice, you haven't seen anything yet. The two prototypes or completely opposite. Words cannot justify how well the store has been designed. It has me speechless. Surprising right...since I did just write a whole post about it. That's how you know it's a well designed store. You'll just have to check it out yourself.