Duane Reade Flagship Wins Top Honors

Duane Reade’s flagship store in Manhattan’s Financial District took first-place honors in the Convenience Store/Pharmacy category at the Retail Design Institute’s 41st Annual International Store Design Awards Gala last month in New York City. The event coincided with the National Retail Federation’s annual conference.

The flagship store for the iconic 256-unit New York chain—now part of Walgreen Co.—opened last July. It’s the result of a collaboration between Duane Reade; New York-based branding and retail-design consultancy CBX; and Toronto-based consultants Joe Jackman Brand. It was designed for its location in the heart of New York City’s Financial District.

The store’s 22,000 square feet occupy the ground floor and mezzanine of a 1930s-era tower at 40 Wall Street. The project goal was to build a state-of-the-art prototypical pharmacy/convenience store that would remain sensitive to the architecture of the space where the Rockefeller family operated its bank. Some of its vintage architectural elements are stone arch bays, marble columns, 28 foot-high ceilings and gold-gilded accents. Its more high-tech feature is its virtual “talking” greeter—a combination of holography and A/V technology—which directs customers from the entrance on to their destinations.

Store representatives say its features were guided by Duane Reade’s vision statement, “New York Living Made Easy.” Thus, it was designed for fast and easy navigation, and includes a Starbucks, a sushi bar, a juice bar, prepared foods to go, a nail bar, a hair salon and a pharmacy with a no-appointment-needed doctor on duty. There are also beauty consultants who assist with makeovers and a cell phone charging station.

Duane Reade’s prototypical colors of blue, green and mauve are used in strategic places, and signage is minimally placed. The Up Market convenience foods area features black-and-white subway tile, quartz-topped stand-up counters, sleek, reach-in coolers and a playful text wall. Interested consumers can keep an eye on a 20-foot New York Stock Exchange ticker. The nail bar and hair salon are accented with crystal chandeliers that emit a soft mauve halo while light music plays nearby. They two areas were “designed to create a serene break from the hustle and bustle of Wall Street,” explains Joseph Bona, president of CBX’s retail division.

All of the submissions competing for honors were judged by a panel of retail-design practitioners on circulation, lighting, finishes, visual merchandising, graphics and way-finding, branding and fixturing.