Cigars, Liquor, and Sushi? Find them at your Neighborhood Walgreens
Drugstores are usually thought of as a place to get prescriptions filled, pick up over-the-counter medicines, or an occasional stop-in for milk. Walgreens is aiming to change all of that while blowing the ‘normal’ perception of a drugstore clear out of the water. Two unique examples from the drug super-retailer were reported this week, with each offering the same proposition: provide its community with an area of need.
A brand new 23,500-square-foot Walgreens in Hollywood, CA (replacing an old Borders location) has daily hand-rolled sushi, the Coca-Cola soda fountain that offers combinations of 130 different drinks, and a frozen yogurt bar. In addition, this particular Walgreens location offers an in-house liquor department, offering high-end tequila and vodka, as well as other staple beverages. It also houses a broad selection of wines and microbrew beers. There’s even a “Virtual Bartender” kiosk that helps identify ingredients for specified cocktails, as well as a cigar section. A few yards away, customers can pick up shampoo, toothpaste, and deodorant. How’s that for a one-stop shopping experience?
‘FOOD DESERT’ SAVIOR
Walgreens will begin offering a selection of fresh food at the drugstore it is building in Denver, CO in hopes that it will help to alleviate an area Denver officials have identified as a food desert. Denver Councilman Albus Brooks said that the area of northeast Denver where the Walgreens is located has only one grocery store to serve 55,000 residents. However, the area is filled with fast-food restaurants, convenience stores and gas stations.
Food deserts aren’t a new concept. Even First Lady Michelle Obama enacted an aggressive plan to help solve the problem during her husband’s first term in Presidency. However, the thought of a drug store getting in on the act is somewhat unique.
Walgreens has been experimenting with different product offerings for quite some time, but one common theme seems to be prevalent: food. And it’s not only drugstores. Earlier this week, convenience store giant 7-Eleven said that its food sales are increasing while its cigarette sales are on the decline. Its in-store food operations have a higher profit margin, and the company is planning for cigarettes to ‘not to be a part of our long-term business model.’