Walgreens launched its first new flagship store in its hometown of Chicago back in January 2012. The flagship store featured the Upmarket Café area with coffee, juices, sandwiches, sushi, and self-serve frozen yogurt. It was the model for other flagship stores to come.
The first Walgreens flagship location on the West Coast was the Los Angeles Sunset & Vine (Hollywood) location. It opened in November 2012 and had a self-serve frozen yogurt bar. The San Francisco flagship opened in 2013. The San Francisco location had three Stoelting machines and a small toppings bar. The frozen yogurt was sold not by weight but by cup size.
The Upmarket Cafes seemed to be doing well enough, since Walgreens has expanded the number of flagships with Upmarket Cafes. They even had a food bus travelling around providing samples of smoothies, froyo and fresh food.
Here’s a list of cities with Walgreen’s locations that had self-serve froyo:
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- New York (called Duane Reade but essentially the same thing)
- San Francisco
- Washington DC
Walgreens quietly removed the frozen yogurt machines from all their Upmarket Cafes about two months ago. According to a Walgreens employee, this was a corporate wide decision. The reason was that there was “too much shrinkage.” But if that were the case, couldn’t they have just moved the machines behind the coffee counter?