I was invited to the opening of the Walgreens store opening by Collective Bias®. I was compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias ™ and Walgreens #CBias #SocialFabric All Opinions are my own.
When you live in the city, you tend to go to the same drug store all the time. You know the one. The one where there’s a little more space, a little wider selection, a little longer areas, a little shorter lines. We’re lucky to have a CVS near our house, but I confess I used to drive there before we were so close to it because it was just a cut above in terms of what’s available in the area.
So hearing about a new Walgreens in Boston had me feeling a little torn. I know how things work at my local CVS. I go there a few times a week. I know their rewards program.
On the other hand, the Downtown Crossing area is in desperate need of MORE. More space, more food, more shopping, more coffee, more everything. I agreed to check out the new Walgreens and decided I’d keep an open mind and see if they could talk me into getting a Walgreens Rewards card on my keychain.
I was looking for a few particular things when I came to the new Walgreens. Space, variety, quality. That’s pretty much what it comes down to and I was totally amazed on every level.
I have a feeling every concierge in the city is going to be visiting this place very soon. If you’re traveling and you need something, you can find it at this Walgreens and it’s probably pretty close to your hotel if you’re staying downtown. (Even if you’re not staying downtown, you’ll inevitably find yourself this way during your sightseeing.) Sure there’s the usual: toothbrush, shampoo, band-aids. But maybe you forgot a pair of sandals? They have flip flops. Cute ones. (After our long day of touring and partying, one of my fellow bloggers had sore feet. Walgreens to the rescue!) They have a whole aisle of chargers and tech accessories for the forgetful among us. They simply have everything.
I took so many pictures while I was there that they simply don’t fit into this post, even in collage format. Check out my G+ album here for more.
But it’s the other stuff that really shocks me about this location. The beauty department looks like you’re in a department store. Walgreens calls this swanky section the Look Boutique. Sure, you can find your usual drugstore makeup brands like Revlon or Cover Girl. But you’ll also find a lot more upscale makeup. Like a brand I love, Boots No. 7. They have awesome makeup and skincare lines at sweet prices. I’ve used their tinted moisturizer for 3 summers.
This is more like a Sephora or a department store than a drugstore. And even better than that, the beauty advisors in the Look Boutique are trained on all their products. Including brow shaping and manicures they do on site.
I was super impressed by the Sample It machine, where you can get samples of products for $1 that comes with a high-value coupon to use on the product if you like it. I tried it out and got 3 samples of Revlon ColorBurst Lip Gloss, I’m always looking for the next great lip product.
The other cool machine is the makeover kiosk where you can snap a pic of yourself and see how different colors and shades look on your face. You can even get them emailed to you.
Also, did I mention the TWELVE DOLLAR MANICURES?
For people who work in Downtown Crossing or those of us who just hang out in the area while shopping or sightseeing. It’s a huge relief to have a place to stop in for a wide variety of food, drinks and snacks.
There’s a cafe with premium coffee and espresso drinks. There’s a bakery counter with pastries and treats brought in from two excellent local bakeries, Lyndell’s and Sweet Tooth. These will definitely beat the stuff you see at your local Starbucks. I’m talking mini cannoli, cupcakes, macarons, the works.
There’s a sushi bar. A fruit & smoothie bar. A frozen yogurt bar that doesn’t charge you by weight (hallelujah!). A Coke Freestyle machine. (if you have not used one, they are the best. I use them for my drink of choice: 75% Diet Coke, 25% Diet Coke with Lime.) A nice selection of food, including refrigerated and frozen sections (seriously, the yogurt section is nearly as big as a grocery store’s). And grab & go fruit, sandwiches, salads and snacks in such wide varieties you’ll have trouble choosing. They have hummus, people.
The food options are a big deal to me. I have found myself downtown with the kids several times without any good options for snacks and drinks. Now we definitely have a go-to.
Oh, and how can I forget what will truly surprise the locals: beer, wine and liquor. That’s not what we expect to find at the grocery store, and definitely not at the drug store. And it’s an impressive selection. I’m willing to bet it has more than you see in most of our city liquor stores, which tend to be pretty low on space and selection. (And far too many are high on the sketchiness factor.)
One thing I noticed not just in the alcohol section but all over the store was a real effort to show Boston love. When they’re smack dab in the middle of the city and right across the street from the famous Old South Meeting House, it helps to cozy up to us Bostonians. (If you’re a local and you’re wondering where the store is, it’s right at the old Borders.) Half the space used to be a bank and they’ve left lots of cool old architectural touches in place instead of just trying to turn it into something else.
Downtown Crossing is really starting to feel more family-friendly and this Walgreens is a welcome addition. I have a feeling we’ll be dropping by next time we take the kids to the Frog Pond or the Swan Boats for the summer.
So did they convince me to add that Rewards Card? I have to say, they did. I’ll be signing up next time I stop in. This is the drugstore everyone wishes was right around the corner. And here in Boston we’re lucky to have it tucked in the heart of our city.