First, Sephora opened in-store nail salons, now Walgreens has set itself apart in the drugstore arena with one. At its just-opened two-story flagship store in Chicago's Loop (which marks a return to the landmark location of 151 N. State St. for Walgreens, which operated a store at this corner from 1926 to 2005), the Nail Bar offers professional manicures with the latest colors from Essie and OPI.
"This unique urban retailing concept raises the bar for drugstore retailing and sets us apart in our industry,” said Joe Magnacca, Walgreens president of daily living products and solutions, in a press release. “As we transform from a traditional drugstore to a retail health and daily living destination, this store demonstrates how we are a central part of life for many who live and work in this dynamic and thriving community. We look forward to serving them with this new shopping and wellness experience for years to come."
The nail bar is part of an overall LOOK Boutique beauty department featuring dozens of cosmetic, skincare, and hair care brands not typically found in drugstores. Specially trained beauty advisors are on hand to offer guidance for finding the best solutions for individual customers. Expert shaping and grooming services are available at the Eyebrow Bar. In addition, customers can try new cosmetic shades and styles at the innovative Virtual Makeover kiosk.
If this trend catches on, then I have to say it will certainly distinguish Walgreens from its competition. Currently, I'm constantly calling the Walgreens next to my home "Rite Aid" and vice versa. But I won't be getting it confused if I'm set on getting my eyebrows done while I wait for a prescription. I do wonder about the in-"salon" experience though. I can't imagine that it's good competition for a high-end nail salon that offers a "getaway" sort of experience or that caters to groups and parties, but it could be steep competition for salons that thrive on the convenience factor (located in high walk-in traffic areas).