Walgreens opens its doors on State Street

James Coller/Daily
Buy this photo

By Christy Song, Daily Staff Reporter
Published January 9, 2014

From slushies to frozen yogurt to creating personalized packs of beer, students have a new option for their late-night drug store needs. Following months of renovations, Walgreens opened on the corner of South State Street and North University Avenue on Dec. 31.

Across the street from Central Campus, the two-story convenience store even matched its interior décor to University colors. The store supplies snacks, candy, cosmetics and other necessities.

The first floor is primarily devoted to snacks and drinks but will soon include a cooler for fresh, health-friendly foods like sandwiches and salads. The store also plans to provide a wider variety of produce goods to serve students who are unable to go to grocery stores.

The second floor consists of mostly makeup, hair accessories, toiletries and personal items, including a small selection of kitchenware.

The store will face competition from CVS, just a short walk down State Street. CVS, which opened in March 2011, is also a two-story pharmacy that carries similar products and caters to largely the same pool of customers.

Tracie Klotz, Walgreen’s store manager, said it has always been her dream to set up a store in the downtown area. Because most employees are alumni or University students, she said it seemed natural to be near campus.

Klotz wanted to keep some of the building’s heritage during construction — such as keeping its skylights — while incorporating modern aspects as well. She said she catered the store decorations and inventory to meet the needs and demands of students.

Competing with CVS will always be a factor, but Klotz said she does not want to deliberately beat her competitors’ offerings, as the prices of the products are fairly similar to those of CVS and identical to the other Walgreens locations in Ann Arbor.

In order to incentivize customers, Walgreens is currently distributing coupons for $2 off purchases of $10 and will have their grand opening celebration on Feb. 7.

“We can make anything happen, so it’s going to be demand-based,” Klotz said. “But we will always have the necessities, since we are a pharmacy. We just want to see what we can do. We want to be great.”

Public Policy senior Adam Watkins said he appreciates the cleanliness of the new store, the Michigan-themed interior and Walgreen’s new offerings in comparison to the CVS further down the street. Watkins said his choice between the two stores will ultimately come down to which is more budget-friendly.

“It depends on what they have and what’s cheaper,” Watkins said. “I noticed they have different things than CVS like they have a make-your-own six-pack beer and I’m a senior so I can appreciate that.”

LSA freshman Dolapo Adeniji voiced her enthusiasm about the Walgreens opening. She said her first impression of the store as clean, attractive and cost-friendly. When asked if she would choose Walgreens over CVS, she had no hesitation in her answer.

“Oh hell yeah,” Adeniji said. “It’s even closer than CVS.”

On the other hand, not everyone was as ecstatic to walk through the new pharmacy, as some students are staying loyal to CVS.

LSA senior Kelsie Holden said CVS is closer to her home and is more convenient. She added that her membership is another reason for staying faithful.

“I’ll still just come to CVS,” Holden said. “I have their rewards program and all that stuff already set up and ready to go.”