Walgreens expands flagships, other Well Experience stores

Take Care Clinics treat patients with chronic health conditions

With the debuts of its latest flagship stores in Washington, DC, and New York City and expanded health care services at more than 300 Take Care Clinics nationwide, Walgreens offers a range of innovative products and services unexpected from a traditional drugstore—including treating patients with chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and asthma.

At Walgreens’ Take Care Clinics, open 7 days a week with extended evening and weekend hours, patients can talk privately with pharmacists, see nurse practitioners or physician assistants for treatment of chronic conditions, and receive vaccinations, basic checkups, screenings, and lab tests. The clinics offer both walk-in service and same-day online appointment scheduling.

Out from behind the counter

The flagship stores are part of Walgreens’ Well Experience initiative, according to Walgreens’ spokesperson Jim Cohn. Pharmacists have an expanded role in the flagships and other Well Experience stores, starting with their relationship with patients.

“We dramatically changed the practice of pharmacy,” Cohn told pharmacist.com. Walgreens eliminated administrative tasks associated with filling prescriptions and made changes in the stores’ physical layout—adding an “Ask Your Pharmacist” desk and private consultation rooms—to enable pharmacists to be more accessible to patients and spend more time with them.

“We brought [pharmacists] out from behind the counter … to provide counseling and additional primary, preventive care services to patients,” Cohn said. “Making pharmacists more accessible fosters more personalized interactions with patients and encourages conversation and counsel—what pharmacists were trained to do and what they do best.”

With the Well Experience initiative, Cohn continued, “[Walgreens stepped] out of the traditional drugstore format to create something completely new and unique, to truly make an impact on the health and well-being of our communities as part of our mission to help people get, stay, and live well.”

More than a pharmacy

The eight flagship stores—two in New York City, two in Chicago, and one each in Puerto Rico, Hollywood, Las Vegas, and Washington, DC—offer a wide array of other products and services. At Walgreens’ DC flagship store in Chinatown, for example, customers can stop at a juice/smoothie bar, a frozen yogurt bar, or a prepared foods section for salads, sushi, and sandwiches. Fresh fruit and cheese are also available. The store’s beauty department offers free skin care analysis as well as manicures for $12.

The flagship is also the first Walgreens to offer an interactive “build your own first-aid kit” interactive display. “Health guide” employees equipped with iPads are available to help customers find health and wellness products.

In New York City, the Empire State Building flagship store includes a café with coffee, pastries, doughnuts, and bagels; an “eyebrow bar” for shaping and grooming; and a selection of local beers.

Walgreens’ transformation has extended to the digital world as well. Using the mobile app Printicular, customers can print their Instagram photographs in 4"×4" format at their local Walgreens. The app also enables customers to print photos from Facebook, Flickr, the iPhone and iPad camera roll, and the Android phone Gallery in standard 4"×6", 5"×7", and 8"×10" sizes.

Walgreens is opening two new flagships in Boston and San Francisco in the next month, said Cohn, and future plans call for adding about a dozen more flagship stores.