Accidental flagship stores


In Chicago, the corner of Michigan Avenue and Chicago Avenue attracts an incredible number of tourists. It’s home to the famous old water tower that survived the great fire, with lots of stores and other attractions nearby. And on the southeast corner of the street, there’s a Walgreen’s. It’s a really ugly, old store — and somehow doesn’t even have any windows. Overall, it gives the many passers-by a poor impression of Walgreen’s, which is especially ironic since the company is headquartered near Chicago.

The shoddy Walgreen’s store in a high-profile location is a reminder that “flagship” stores can be created by things outside the retailer’s control. Sure, the typical flagship is planned in advance, and designed to be a showcase for the brand in a location where lots of people will see it. But sometimes, the area around a regular store grows into prime real estate. And when that occurs, it pays to renovate the store so it looks and feels like a flagship you’ll be proud of. Otherwise, you’ll be missing the chance to build brand equity and drive future store visits among the large crowds of people that walk by every day.