By Students Ilana Nemerow, Zachary Wheeler, Amanda Pigos, Mariah Lax, Jannike Heide, Philip Vongkhampsay, Daniel Grace, Sum Yi Cheng, Jenna Byrne, Maria Rocha, Cassandra Bocchieri, and Lydia Stahle
On Wednesday November 9th, Rory Smith spoke to students in the Retail Leadership Symposium. Smith is a School of Human Ecology alum (Interior Design, 2006) and currently serves as the Senior Manager of Store Format for Walgreens. His position leads innovative design for all 8,177 Walgreens stores across the country.
Smith opened his presentation with a discussion about what came to students’ minds when they thought of Walgreens. Some of the topics that were discussed were the company’s Get a Shot, Give a Shot program and the company’s efforts to provide solutions to food deserts. The company believes in carrying out their principles and having a global presence. Most students already knew that Walgreens was the largest drugstore chain in the United States. Many students were surprised, however, about the other companies that Walgreens is associated with. Smith informed students that Walgreens also owns Boots, the largest retail pharmacy chain in Europe, and Alliance, a leading global pharmaceutical wholesaler and distributor. This Walgreens Boots Alliance partnership has transformed Walgreens from a traditional drug store into a global health and retail destination.
The majority of Mr. Smith’s presentation was focused on the improvements that have been made to Walgreens’ beauty department. The company decided to incorporate elements of Boots stores in Europe into Walgreens stores in America. This created a lot of work for Mr. Smith and his team as important decisions needed to be made regarding store format and fixtures. The team created what they call “Innovation Centers” which consist of a more organized, attractive, and attention grabbing beauty section. In an attempt at international flair, Walgreens stores have begun to carry Boots’ private label, No7, and have given it prominent displays.
Mr. Smith ended his presentation by discussing exciting internship and full time opportunities offered by Walgreens. They are looking for individuals who have the potential to grow with their company and can contribute to their innovative and team oriented culture. What a great time to be a part of the Walgreens team!