BIZ Blog: A CVS / Walgreens face-off in Duluth?
Business, consumer and economic tidbits from DNT reporter Candace Renalls. Click here to view previous posts or additional resources. Comments | Permalink A CVS/Walgreens face-off in Duluth? Posted on December 14, 2010 by Candace Renalls The 1200...
Business, consumer and economic tidbits from DNT reporter Candace Renalls. Click here to view previous posts or additional resources.
A CVS/Walgreens face-off in Duluth?
Posted on December 14, 2010 by Candace Renalls
The 1200 block of East Superior Street.
It's an odd place for CVS Pharmacy to establish a foothold in Duluth. On one side is a Walgreens store. On the other side is where Walgreens plans to replace it with a new, bigger store.
So I called CVS about a month ago when rumors starting flying that the giant pharmacy chain or its developers were looking to acquire property that includes the Plaza strip mall on the north side of the Superior Street and the Super America Station anchoring the other end of the block at 12th Avenue East.
CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis confirmed that CVS has looked at potential locations in the Duluth-Superior area, but he wouldn't confirm the Superior Street site. Nor would he comment on rumors that CVS also was looking at sites in Superior and Two Harbors.
He said a CVS expansion to the Twin Ports area would make sense. With approximately 7,100 stores nationwide, CVS opens 200 to 300 per year. Some are in existing markets. Some are built in nearby markets, where CVS hasn't had a presence, he said.
Like the Twin Ports.
"It's part of our normal real estate plan to open 'x' amount of stores every year," DeAngelis said. "We have had stores in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the Duluth market is a natural expansion of our store presence."
But until a deal is finalized, CVS doesn't make any announcements, he said.
"There's no done deal," he said of Duluth. "We would only announce specific locations if we have signed lease agreements."
But, I persisted, would CVS open a store across the street from a Walgreens?
"Not usually," he said. "As competitors we're not looking to move across the street."
But -- and this is important -- he said it wouldn't stop them.
"As a company, we're looking for similar attributes and locations," he said. "It can mean we're on opposite corners, because we're both attracted to busy intersections offering high visibility and easy accessibility to our stores."
And the Superior Street site is close to hospitals and clinics, the reason Walgreens is planning to build a new store closer to them.
Meanwhile, Mark Labovitz, one of the owners of the Plaza strip mall, also declined to confirm or deny any sale in the works.
"It might be correct," he said. "I can't confirm it. I can't comment, because it's a sensitive conversation."
He said he wanted to protect his tenants.
"Right now, I'm not very sure about anything," he said. "It may turn out that nothing is going to happen."
At the strip mall, Lynn Levin, owner of Plaza Hair Styles, had heard that CVS had put money down for the sale. But, she said, the holdup was settling the tenant leases, which was necessary before a sale could be complete.
"The owner said there won't be a done deal until we're taken care of," Levin said. "I have been here 32 years, and I feel very comfortable how the owners are handling it."