REAL ESTATE

Starbucks opens 100th store in Beijing

BY Marianne Wilson

Beijing — Starbucks Coffee Co. advanced its growth plans in China with the opening of its 100th store in Beijing. The company also announced the launch of Starbucks China University, its talent development program.

Starbucks has announced that China will be its second largest market by 2014 and will have 1,500 stores by 2015 across more than 70 cities. It currently operates 700 locations throughout Mainland China.”

The Beijing store is staffed by Starbucks “Coffee Masters,” baristas who have completed a rigorous certification process and have earned the right to wear the distinguished Black Apron after intensive coffee skills and knowledge training, the company said.

Starbucks China University will also offer training curriculums that encompass a broad range of areas and functions of the Starbucks China business, including coffee knowledge and culture training, and provide tailor-designed curriculums on retail and related functional training as well as leadership competency.

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REAL ESTATE

Walgreens restores historic Chicago building into flagship

BY Marianne Wilson

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens unveiled its newest Chicago flagship, in the historic Noel State Bank building in the city’s Bucktown/Wicker Park neighborhood (click here to see photos). This is the chain’s second flagship in Chicago and, like its downtown State and Randolph flagship location, features an extensive collection of innovative offerings, products and services unexpected from a drugstore.

The store preserves the architectural integrity of the historic building, which was constructed in 1919. (The original bank fell closed during the Great Depression, and the space has housed several different banks over the decades.) For the last two years, Walgreens worked closely with the city’s Commission on Chicago Landmarks on the building restoration. The exterior is clad entirely in ornamental terra cotta. Large windows are divided by rising pilasters topped with Corinthian capitals, and a prominent cornice wraps around the rounded corner of the building.

Extensive restoration took place on the building’s coffered plaster ceiling, which features abundant non-symmetrical hexagons that frame griffins and other ornate designs, all of which form into successive yet subtle Star of David patterns. At the center is a large stained glass window with a six-point star design. Walgreens also restored the interior columns topped with pilasters and the original bank vault, which will be repurposed as a “Vitamin Vault” in the store’s health and wellness section.

The store’s features include:

  • Vitamin Vault: The original cast iron safe entrance, with visible locking gears, will lead customers into a unique vitamin and supplement section. Original bank lockboxes open and display various vitamin products.
  • An enhanced, state-of-the-art pharmacy designed to encourage greater interaction between pharmacists and patients. An iPad-equipped health guide will help pharmacy customers navigate a wide range of health and wellness products, services and resources including immunizations and health tests. The pharmacy also features an “Ask Your Pharmacist” desk, consultation rooms and Express Rx kiosks for swift checkout.
  • A juice bar featuring fresh fruits and vegetables and made-to-order smoothies. The chocolate malted milkshake, invented by a Walgreens soda fountain manager in 1922, also will be served.
  • Hundreds of fresh food items including produce and high-quality, on-the-go meal options such as wraps, sandwiches and salads made fresh daily. Plus, a wide variety of sushi and sashimi.
  • A best-in-class wine selection boasting more than 700 fine wines.
  • A Look Boutique beauty department featuring dozens of prestige and niche brands not typically found in drug stores. Specially-trained beauty advisors are on hand to offer guidance finding the best solutions for individual needs. Expert shaping and grooming services will be available at the Eyebrow Bar.

“It was thrilling to restore this architectural gem once again into a thriving business anchor in the Bucktown/Wicker Park area,” said Joe Magnacca, Walgreens president of daily living products and solutions. “This flagship store will provide customers with a unique shopping experience within an iconic building. It’s the latest example of how we are stepping out of the traditional drugstore format and helping people get, stay and live well.”

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Baccarat to open New York City flagship in May

BY Staff Writer

New York — Baccarat is set to unveil their newest flagship store in New York City in May 2013 ahead of the iconic brand’s upcoming 250th anniversary.

Located at 635 Madison Avenue at 60th Street, the 2,800-sq.-ft. store — designed by Rafael de Cardenas — will be a new global retail model for the brand, showcasing tableware, lighting, decorative objects and jewelry to reflect the richness of the Baccarat lifestyle and the brand’s commitment to innovation and excellence.

The contemporary design exudes a crisp elegance through a blend of rich woods and dark stones. The entryway’s faceted surfaces reflect the brand’s iconic sparkling chandeliers. Adjacent spaces, wrapped in warm fabrics, create intimate environments for product interaction.

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