Walgreens granted alcohol permit

By David Gao

As part of its recent renovation, the Walgreens at East 55th Street and Lake Park Avenue now sells a limited amount of alcohol.

The store began providing alcohol three weeks ago, after a long hiatus, according to Phil Caruso, a media relations representative for the company. Walgreens stores have sold alcohol since Prohibition, but over time, stores “found the category cumbersome and time consuming to maintain,” he wrote in an e-mail. Caruso said that the Lake Park location discontinued selling liquor products in the late 1990s.

However, due to its “Well Experience” rebranding, the location applied for a permit to sell alcohol.

“After a two-year long discussion between Walgreens, the City of Chicago, Fourth Ward Alderman Burns, and the community, we were granted a license to resume selling a limited amount [of] alcohol as part of our Well Experience remodel at this location,” Caruso said.

According to its Web site, Walgreens is working toward what it calls a “one-stop shop philosophy,” which includes the addition of alcohol. As part of this approach, the “Well Experience” model offers a wider selection of products, including fresh foods, boutique cosmetic brands, and more health services, such as vaccines and physicals.

Store manager Terrence Hopkins declined to comment, citing restrictions on being able to speak on behalf of the national Walgreens corporation.