Walgreens bringing new small-store concept to city’s south side

Walgreens, which last year announced it was testing a new small-store concept, is opening one of those stores on the south side of Indianapolis.

The newly constructed store is scheduled to open Friday at 902 E. Hanna Ave., between U.S. 31 and Madison Avenue near the University of Indianapolis. It will replace the existing store, which closes today at the corner of Hanna and Madison avenues.

At 2,400 square feet, the new store is much smaller than a standard Walgreens, which typically occupies about 13,500 square feet.

The new format comes with a slimmed-down merchandise selection.

“The store will offer a full pharmacy and smaller front-end offering than a traditional store layout with a greater focus on health and wellness and over-the-counter products,” Walgreens spokeswoman Alexandra Brown told IBJ via email.

Brown declined to identify the location of Walgreens’ other small-format stores, but the Indianapolis location will be among the company’s first.

During a call with analysts this month, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. CFO James Kehoe said the company is currently operating 23 small stores “with encouraging results.”

Walgreens, whose headquarters is in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield, Illinois, operates about 9,200 stores nationwide.

The new small-store format is one of the ways Walgreens is working to reshape its retail presence in a challenging market.

In December 2018 the company announced it was taking several measures to reduce its annual costs by $1.8 billion by 2022.

In August, the company announced it planned to close 200 Walgreens stores, in addition to a previously announced closure of 200 Boots stores in the United Kingdom. To date, 114 Walgreens stores and 28 Boots stores have closed.

For the quarter ended Nov. 30, the company’s profits totaled $845 million, or 95 cents per diluted share, down 25% compared with the same period a year earlier.

In other news this week:

— Black Acre Brewing Co. is opening in downtown Indianapolis at 130 N. Delaware St. The establishment is above Greek’s Pizzeria, on the second floor of a building between Market and Ohio streets.

The establishment, known as The Black Acre Loft, which had its first soft-opening event on Wednesday, has similar events Friday through Sunday.

This is a busy time for Black Acre, which is also working to recover from a fire that happened last month at its original location at 5632 E. Washington St. in Irvington; and will soon open a facility in Zionsville.

Black Acre in Irvington hasn’t reopened since the fire, but until it does the brewery is serving customers at its nearby brewing facility and beer garden about a block to the south at 5529 Bonna Ave.

Black Acre’s Zionsville restaurant, named Corvus-Black Acre Rotisserie, Taproom and Bourbon Bar, is set to open early this year.  IBJ first reported on this project in July.

— Sauce on the Side’s downtown Indianapolis restaurant is now open. The calzone-focused dining spot is on the first floor of the Hyatt House/Hyatt Place hotel at 130 S. Pennsylvania St., across from Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Its grand opening was on Monday. A Carmel location opened in August at 12751 Pennsylvania St.

The Indianapolis restaurant is the eighth for Sauce on the Side, a fast-casual chain based in St. Louis. Other than Indianapolis and Carmel, all of the chain’s restaurants are in the greater St. Louis area. IBJ first reported on the chain’s local plans in December 2018.

— The women’s clothing and accessories store Versona is coming to the Indianapolis area, with a store set to open this spring at Greenwood Park Mall.

Versona, which sells women’s clothing, jewelry, accessories and shoes, will take the space formerly occupied by fashion accessory retailer Charming Charlie. Charming Charlie filed for bankruptcy protection in July and closed all of its stores, including in Greenwood, Clay Terrace in Carmel and Hamilton Town Center in Noblesville.

Versona is part of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Cato Corp., which operates 1,375 Versona, Cato, It’s Fashion and It’s Fashion Metro stores in 33 states. Versona’s only Indiana store is in Evansville.

— Tropical Smoothie Café is opening two franchised stores this spring—one in Avon and one in Westfield. The Avon store, at 10720 E. Highway 36, will be operated by franchisees Michael and Andi Baker and Brian and Suzanne Joseph. Both couples live in Avon.

The Westfield store will be at 661 E. State Road 32. Its franchisees are James and Angela Volpert of Zionsville and Dave and Ruth Buko of Saginaw, Michigan. The Volperts and Bukos also own the Tropical Smoothie Cafés in Carmel and Fishers.

Tropical Smoothie Café started in Destin, Florida, in 1997. The restaurant chain, which sells smoothies, wraps, sandwiches, flatbreads and quesadillas, now has more than 700 locations.

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One thought on “Walgreens bringing new small-store concept to city’s south side

  1. As reported in the July 20, 2019 Wall Street Journal (Disaster at the Drugstore– A surge in online drug sales could pose a threat to CVS, Walgreens and Walmart), with the advent of widespread pharmacy delivery by the large internet retail & delivery companies, the brick-and-mortar drugstore business is likely to soon experience a huge surplus of vacant space. Walk-in customers, previously relied upon to support front-of-store retail, will cease to visit the stores. It’s likely that many of these large drugstores, which were sited in large numbers throughout Indianapolis and often in close proximity to each other during the so-called “high-velocity environment” of drugstore expansions of the 1980-90s, will be seeking health related co-tenants to fill the non-productive front-of-store retail space. This is already occurring. Thus it’s especially imprudent to build new private medical service facilities in our public parks, with the prospects that much built retail space will become vacant in the near future. And now this additional new model of new mini-stores, e.g. reducing from 13, 500 square feet down to 2,400.

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