A Drugstore/Bar Grows in Brooklyn
Trying to buffer the disdain for "chains" by many local
residents, Duane Reade literally raised the bar in its recent move into the
Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, home to many young hipsters and liberal yuppies.
The location includes a beer bar.
Consumers can’t hang out and drink on the
premises. But the beer bar — featuring nine local, craft and imported beers
— allows tastings and sells growlers, dark glass bottles popular in the 19th
century as a way to carry draft beer home after work. Growlers have reclaimed
some popularity after Whole Foods and some local bars recently began to offer
them, according to an article in The New
York Times. And as long as the growlers are sealed in the store, Duane
Reade does not need any additional licenses.
Behind a bar, a sizeable walk-in
refrigerator stocks some well-known national brands as well as local, craft
and imported beers, such as Chimay and Porkslap.
The Times article noted that Duane Reade, bought
by Walgreens last spring, has attempted to cater to locals in other neighborhoods.
It sells cut flowers for some residential areas of Midtown East in Manhattan.
More items from Goya are sold in heavily Hispanic neighborhoods in the Bronx.
Sandwiches and other fast lunches are more widely available at stores near
Penn Station and the Port Authority.
"With each of our newer stores, we’re trying to find what works
in our community," Paul
Tiberio, senior vice president for merchandising and marketing at Duane Reade,
told the Times. In Williamsburg, bloggers and Facebook
groups had rallied against the pending arrival that landed across the street
from the mom-and-pop Kings Pharmacy.
"The opposition was coming from blogs, but it was more the concept of
Duane Reade or what they thought Duane Reade was going to be here," said
Paul Clark, Duane Reade’s vice president for marketing.
Selling a wide
selection of beer, along with groceries, enabled Duane Reade to fill a need
rather than just propose a threat.
"Kings is a great pharmacy — the void we saw is there’s no
food and no beer selection," Mr. Tiberio told the Times.
"I think as big chains go, they’re doing they’re best," one
resident told CBS New York. "It’s good to try to notice what
the neighborhood wants and if they can do it, it would make me more interested
in shopping there."
- A Duane Reade in Brooklyn With a Beer Bar – The New York Times
- Brooklyn Duane Reade Wins Over Locals With Beer Bar – CBS New York
Discussion Questions: What do you think of Duane Reade’s move to overcome “chain” resistance in Brooklyn? What are other chains doing to find a way to bond with locals?