All in the Family
Campus gets a Walgreens
by Shelley Daily
Walgreens opened a two-story location across from the U-M's Central Campus on New Year's Eve. It's at the corner of State and North University in the former Michigan Book & Supply building--not far from where members of the Walgreen family might have walked to class.
The late Charles "Chuck" Walgreen Jr., son of Walgreens founder Charles Walgreen, was a 1928 U-M pharmacy graduate and a major university donor (the Walgreen Drama Center). His son Charles III followed in his footsteps in 1958, and grandson, Kevin Walgreen, is a 1984 U-M psychology grad and a senior vice president with the company. Though efforts to interview Kevin were rebuffed by corporate, the store's shift leader Caitlyn Yother cheerfully offered: "There's a chance that Kevin Walgreen might make it to the grand opening." That's scheduled for February 7.
As Yother leads a tour through the store, she points out the self-serve frozen yogurt station and the ICEE (slushie), Starbucks, and Coke Freestyle machines--all popular with the college crowd, she says. She rides the escalator upstairs to the pharmacy, which features an express station for online orders and a private immunization room. The upstairs also features a large section of U-M souvenirs and clothing as well as toiletries.
The rest of the inventory also reflects the store's campus market: when interviewed shortly after opening, Yother was having a hard time keeping ramen noodles and plastic party cups on the shelves. The store also sells other groceries, beer, and wine and will soon add a fresh foods cooler with fruits, salads, and sandwiches. A long counter with a half-dozen stools runs along the front window--an echo of the lunch counter that looked out on the Diag during the building's first life as a Kresge dime store.
With more than 8,000 Walgreens locations nationwide, the drugstore giant's biggest competitor is CVS Pharmacy--which opened steps away on South State in 2011. Why did Walgreens choose the same block? "It's really about what location is best," says district manager Kelli Oldham. And, she says, Walgreens wanted to be "right on campus."
Walgreens, 317 S. State, 352-3623. Mon.-Sat. 7 a.m. to midnight, Sun. 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Pharmacy: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. walgreens.com
[Originally published in February, 2014.]