Reader Chris sent us this pic of the new Walgreens sign on the old Beso del Sol space (4468 Stone Way N.).
Back in July, we reported that Walgreens had leased part of the space at Wallingford Plaza, including the ground floor. No word yet on the official opening date, but we’ll keep you posted.
do they have a parking lot?
I was hoping it was going to be a mini Trader Joe’s. I called it “Tra Joe’s.”
Hopefully better hours than Bartells.
@Nathan – rumors abound that Tra Joes is going in at 40th and Stone.
coco, there’s a parking lot in back.
@Ryan – The Trader Joe’s rumors were debunked long ago when Trader Joe’s themselves said they would not be moving to 40th and Stone.
What’s this world coming to? Oh yeah, Po-Mo Architorture with red plastic signs. Does it have to be so un-considered? And how many pharmacy this-and-that stores does one little neighborhood need?
I agree completely with Nancy M. And not just because we share the same name.
I’m pretty excited about the Walgreens. The Wallingford Bartell’s is a long walk from this side of the neighborhood and it’s a bit cramped. Obviously Walgreens thinks it will be profitable.
I may be a stickler, but I’ll keep giving my business to Bartell, which is a local company. Especially with WA being in such a bad financial state, I’d prefer to keep the money local, and support one of our own!
I agree with Yani. I like the people at Bartell’s. Prefer not to go to a national chain.
noo PCC TeeHeeHee big prices big deal is coming to 40 and stone
Wasn’t there a drugstore at that spot, before this building went in? I loved the name, “Stone Way Pharmacy” – it’s too bad the rents are probably out of reach, I could think of at least one local business that could have done something with that name.
It’s sad to see a super bland chain drugstore take that spot. I would have liked to see the last owner at Beso del Sol do well with it, but it’s tough to pay the rent at a place like that in a neighborhood where people get excited about Walgreens.
Personally I’m happy to see *anything* go in there, rather than the big empty deserted space it has been for the last few years.
Yes Kellie!!! i was about to say the same thing. I am SO happy there is a business going into that space. Walgreens wouldn’t have been my first choice but it will be a nice addition to the area.
@13 and 14, same for me. Good to see a business in that space, and while my main pharmacy will continue to be with Bartell’s, this one will be helpful to have available, especially on the bus route.
Just addressing the various comments:
1. I really think the “local” argument goes out the window when the business has more than 50 locations. -You have to think like a “big chain” to get that large because you are working on volume discounts, and Bartell’s is honestly just a badly run chain. The only reason they aren’t a national chain is their own incompetence in merchandising and expansion. They are too small to really compete, and too big to actually be personal. ( e.g the pharm tech at Bartell’s asked me and my wife how a relative was for more than a year after her death. -And that relative got her prescriptions there too.)
2. How many times has Bartell’s had *everything* on your pharmacy list?
I only recently stopped driving to Ballard to the Walgreens there when Pharmaca moved in because Bartells was so pathetic. It was faster to drive to Ballard than deal with Bartell because Bartell always was missing something from my prescriptions (yet failed to call me) , took 25 mins to get in/out, as we formed one line for privacy (yet can hear everything being discussed) and was so hit and miss on other sundries.
3.Super-bland describes Bartell’s to a tee. They are the only store still stuck in the 70’s, Rite Aid was giving them a run at that title until they moved out. Walgreens typically builds their own stores so they have higher ceilings, wider aisles, etc. Be interesting to see what they can do in the Beso space.
3. Each Walgreens is quite different on the inside wrt selection. Walgreens studies locations for months to a year+ before going in. They learn the demographics of a neighborhood and tailor the selection of products to the residents, and the surrounding stores. I suspect here that will mean an emphasis on organic/naturopathic selections, and probably a rather large card/wrap section.
4. Parking would have actually been worse for locals with a restaurant because it’s bursty and at the same time you are coming home. Beso del Sol would sometimes have 50+ people in there dining/dancing *at the same time,* especially on Salsa night. In contrast, the UW Walgreens gets by with about 8 or so dedicated parking spots.
Between Bartell’s dropping the ball, no Hallmark store near here, and Pharmaca going off the deep end serving a niche demographic (last time I was there there was a table set up to have your aura read with a laptop for free to upsell you on Sedona vortex therapy), Walgreens should do fantastic.
I think Walgreens will do well. Bartells does not always have everything. Their staff is wonderful- one gets to know people shopping over many years.
I am simply curious about parking because I live in the area and see more and more construction.. and truly have not seen an entrance for parking for them.. is it a drop down from sky?
Chris: You obviously have no idea what you’re talking about regarding Bartells. Here are some facts. No conjecture.
Bartells is very profitible. Baretlls is the largest regional drug chain in the country. Bartells is a local company. Bartells has had constant pressure to sell to all the big chains for years, but George Bartell has refused. The Bartell family could have walked away very rich people if they took any of these deals but ownership truly believes in their core mission that remaining small(er) enables them to provide a much higher level of service. You get Pharmacists that actually speak english for instance. CVS wants them so bad they practically have a open check waiting.
Walgreens has a great selection of t-shirts, candy, chia pets and other useless tchotchkes. You are correct. But so does Bartells. Vist any of the larger stores (outside of the downtown core) and you’ll see Bartells competes quite nicely on selection. Maybe not on price. But you probably shop at Walmart too, so…
Bartells had to grow in order to obtain the buying power necessary to compete, so yes, they have a lot of stores. But they’re almost all within a 50 mile radius of the Seattle metro area. Small independent pharmacies simply cannot compete with the Walgreens of the world. Again — think Walmart here.
I guess bland is one of those subjective things. Because saying Bartells is bland compared to Walgreens is like saying Barry Manilow is bland compared to Yanni.
It sounds to me like you had a bad experience (or two) at Bartells. Sorry for that. It also sounds to me like you belong in Redmond. With all the nice big box stores and their big selections and low prices. Meanwhile, welcome to city life.
Actually I come by way of Chicago, home of Walgreens. 🙂 Wouldn’t dream of living in Redmond for exactly the reasons you mention.
Also, I never mentioned price. I also didn’t say Bartell wasn’t profitable. I said poorly run, which is my opinion as someone trying to shop there, request assistance, navigate bizarre policies (like only letting you buy 1/4 of the legal WA amount of pseudoephedrine). I also didn’t mean the tchotchkes which as you point out, all have. I am talking about if Walgreens is in a neighborhood w/o a hardware store, they’ll have half an aisle of common hardware for apartment life. And the one hammer they will carry will be a Stanley, not a Wal-mer, btw. 🙂 And if they are in a neighborhood heavy in a certain ethnicity, you’lll see a larger selection of groceries tailored to the diet of that demographic, etc. I am talking about that within 2 months of WA requiring signatures for pseudoephedrine, Walgreens had that integrated into their system to let you sign on a pad and use the info from your account. I beleilve Bartells is still using a binder and looking for a page with my sig on it typically takes 5 mins or more.
I don’t expect 20 brands of the same item at Bartell and at low, low prices, but I do expect the staples of a store to be in stock, likewise for common prescriptions, and I expect /need to be able to get those prescriptions outside of times that are convenient for Bartells. Once I went at noon on Sunday and Bartell had pulled down the metal barrier to close for an hour at lunch. (Welcome to country life?)
I am sure CVS is trying to get Bartell’s, as they would be an ideal acquisition for CVS whose own stores are as poor an experience to enter. -And that’s because they grow by acquisition and then attempt to restructure/downsize corporate opps to eek out profits. Walgreens almost always builds their own stores, because they care about the layout/experience and have only done a couple of acquisitions in their history.
And the Walmart comparison imho is inaccurate, save the name. While they have a similar omni-presence I guess, Walgreens stores are no larger than a few thousand square feet, and are in your neighborhood. Walmart also tells vendors, if you want in, hit this price point. Walgreens probably does the same , but Walmart adds Can’t hit this price point? -Well, you could if you moved your manufacturing to China…
Your Manilow v Yanni point is acknowledged. -But now I’m thinking about the music in QFC that was purchased by Kroger sometime in 1979. Thanks for that. 🙂
BTW: I believe it’s required by law that pharmacists in the US speak English, and Walgreen’s actually tries to recruit pharmacists that are multi-lingual, but English is required.
Donn, yeah, OK, a corporate pharmacy isn’t the most thrilling addition to the neighborhood. But when I’ve been sick in cold weather I haven’t wanted to make a 25-min each way trek to Bartell’s and I’m glad that will be over soon.
I’m just happy to see some activity at that corner. It might also help make that bus stop at 45th and Stone less creepy. I’ll continue going to Bartell’s because it’s closer and I like their employees and selection (and that they’re locally owned).
@Coco – The parking lot is to the south of the building.
chris, you have a lot to say. I suggest you join a group with much more important issues and get people organized.
@ 6,7 Nancys–what about the architecture? Aside from the signs, that building has looked that way for a long time. So it’s not what “this world is coming to.”
As for Walgreens vs Bartell, I shop fairly often at both, in different north Seattle locations. In general I find Walgreens here more cramped and unappealing–no wider aisles there. The Wallingford Bartell seems a bit smaller and less open than others with more square footage, but that Stone Way Walgreens looks small, too, and will probably be even more jammed and jumbled than most.
Instead of improving the archi-torture red plastic lit signs get added to the mix. I am sad that Seattle is going away. Could give a eyelash about Walgreens. The folks at University House will probably be happy, safer walking commute for them.
well how about the eyesore of archie mcphees/ That corner is lost.. and the fake grass in front of boys and girls club? death to 45th
I like living in Wallingford. And I like it when there are more local jobs here for people to take without getting in their cars.
I have to say that during my time living very near 45th and Stone, the changes that have been made are generally very positive. What used to be a city of seattle garage (SW corner) is now a mixed use building with mixed income housing for a lot of recent immigrants and for people with special needs such as disabled access to living and also accommodations for live-in caretakers. Likewise, the old McDonalds ( NW corner) is another mixed use building now with a coffee shop, a credit union, and other businesses. The liquor store moved further east on 45th, while Archie McPhees took over the space. The Boys and Girls Club became a very nice facility and very well attended. Tutta Bella came in , as did Tilth, May’s, an new and improved Chevron station (albeit without the old repair facilities), and the continuing buildup of Stone with condos/apartments allowing more people to live around here for reasonable rent (by Seattle standards). Smash finally became a permanent business in a space that had been constantly turned over.
Plus…Lincoln is now used constantly as other schools are renovated, and it is great to have such an old building on such a large site actually being utilized.
Stoneway Hardware has endured, as has the Blue Star, Bizarro, and most of the home furnishing/plumbing/painting/contractor oriented businesses farther south on Stone Way. The building where Walgreens is going in has been vacant for years, even before the Mastro bankruptcy (the original owner). Beso del Sol was nice and fun, but also pushed the limits of neighborhood civility on Salsa nights, especially in the summer. I’m not saying “those darn kids” I am just saying it was loud until at least 3am, which I can tolerate, but I don’t miss.
In short, a lot more people can live here now, and there are new and exciting/useful businesses to boot, and all have been located along what most would consider “business” streets, that is, 45th and Stone. Meanwhile, many of the historical businesses remain, and have in fact thrived due to more population. I agree the building itself is not an architectural masterpiece, but it is what it is, and they have vastly improved the parking lot and I hope that Walgreens does well. I am sure, as mentioned above, they will tailor their selection to the neighborhood, and I see them as yet another complement to the Bartells and Pharmaca stores, not really a competitor, as people will either go there for the convenience (University House residents) or for particular needs (perhaps photography, as Walgreens often can print larger and more customized prints than other stores such as Bartells, but we shall see).
I don’t like all that has happened and groan about some projects, but overall I think the trajectory towards more people and more businesses and more convenience is swell. I just enjoy the fact that hardware, fine food, groceries, drug stores, parks, schools, a library, gas stations, banks, etc. are all so close, even if the community has lost a bit of its architectural cohesion over the years.
right on abject, you make valid points .. maybe archies could tone the cartoony atmosphere a bit.. and maybe we could have lower cost restaurants or a library which holds books? maybe
Well, this is what I’m talking about. Walgreens is coming, whether we like it or not, and there isn’t any need to attack or defend it, but it’s a chance to think about how our little neighborhood urban center gets to be the way it is, and a chance to think about what we would like it to be. Because once in a rare while we do get a say in the directions development takes.
The way I see it, if you stand at 45th and Stone and look around and can’t tell if you’re in Wallingford or Maple Valley, then we lose. I’m not here to tell you what the difference is, or should be, but if you don’t see a difference and attach some value to it, I wonder why you’d be here.
To me it seems like we do seem to be headed that way. Architecturally, I know post modern doesn’t get much respect, and probably doesn’t deserve to, but if anything that now-Walgreens building is better than the other new stuff that has sprung up around there, at least it isn’t modern-anonymous. Commercially … a chain drugstore 4 or 5 blocks from two other chain drugstores? Well, whatever, no one asked me, or any of us, what we wanted here, but just remember, this is what you will get with all the other multi-story mixed use developments that come along. Bank branch offices, tanning salons, the same chain stores you see all over the countryside, and goodbye Wallingford we hardly knew ye.
Donn’s points are well taken, but I think the main vibe of Wallingford is that there are lots of people out and about doing different things. On foot. The buildings and architecture are important, as is limiting the “creep” of larger buildings to main “business” streets, but so far as I can tell, building up Stone, 45th, and yes, even Wallingford Ave. in certain areas means more people, more business, and more community.
Creating new living spaces and new business space makes things more vibrant. It is the continued creation of opportunities for people to live their lives in a close-knit geography without needing to drive everywhere that will allow Wallingford to retain its character. If Wallingford is a great place to live, which it is, I think energy should be devoted to making sure more people, not fewer, can enjoy the neighborhood. Until Maple Valley has all of the characteristics people have been discussing, I don’t think people will confuse the two. For some, Maple Valley may be a better choice, but I think it’s the people and the choices that are available in our neighborhood that ensures that its neighborhood vibe will remain, in the same way Ballard and Fremont and Capitol Hill and Columbia City and Beacon Hill and Greenwood, etc. have all grown, at times uneasily, to let more people and more businesses participate and become a part of the neighborhoods.
People and businesses come to Wallingford because it is a great place to be. That is something to be proud of, and if they come here because there are places to live and work, that creates density and vibrancy. It also reduces the need to drive, work in one place, while having your kids go to school in another place, and even live in a different place. When you can do all of that in one place, you get a singular sense of community instead of 3 (or more) loosely connected portions of your life. And I think that experience, much more than the appearance or uses of buildings is what is most important.
Maybe the appearance of the buildings is a lost cause, but it’s hard to not see the importance of the use. Bank branch offices and tanning salons hardly seem like the way to make a place “vibrant” (there’s that word again.) And the multi-story mixed use concept prevails today seems to strongly favor those businesses, over the kind of thing that makes it interesting to walk through Wallingford’s main retail stretch. I don’t know if it’s because of their ownership and management structure or just rents, but they get storefront tenants that are occasionally glitzy but always boring.
Residential density and living close to work are great ideas. I don’t believe you have to sacrifice the character of your retail center, to get there – on the contrary, that’s an amenity that you would hope to preserve, if you want the kind of high density development where people care about their neighborhood.
One main reason for the bland commercial mix in new properties is that new developments tend to design with a few big retail spaces, rather than several smaller spaces suitable for specialty retailers. And, yes, the rents are high, plus developers tend to favor franchise-type businesses that are just plug-and-play, rather than deal with the business plan of an unknown endeavor. Smaller spaces would reduce the empty-space risk for developers as well as encourage new retailers.
Echoing what Fruitbat said – it seems like more of the development in Fremont has been more accommodating of smaller, non-franchise businesses. Specifically, I’m thinking not so much of the Adobe/Getty megaplex down by the canal, but more of the newer multi-use developments along 36th by The George & Dragon. There are a couple of developments there where all the storefronts are small – and the businesses are all unique and local.
Is the Fremont Chamber of Commerce doing something the Wallingford Chamber isn’t?
people come to wallingford to do business because ther eis money here and they hope to get some. Its simple.
Another vote here for Bartells — we really like the folks working there, and (at least for us), it has what we want. And it is a local (albeit large) chain.
My handful of experiences in Walgreens (Ballard, Aurora, Everett) leave me with the impression that they’re (a) depressing, (b) identical, and (c) have a crap-to-stuff-I-want ratio closer to Walmart.
I’ve found shopping at most 7-11s more pleasant than Walgreens.
I’ve only lived in Wallingford for the past six months or so, but I love the walkability and feel to this neighborhood. I would rather have a business occupying a space than empty storefronts, but I agree with whomever said if Wallingford ends up feeling like Maple Valley we lose.
I moved here for the neighborhood feel. The walkability. The gardens in the front yards and the bushes, trees and plants for my dog to smell. I love this neighborhood and want to see it thrive and retain its feel.
Chris, I want to respectfully (this time) address some of your concerns.
First. Full disclosure. I’m married to a Bartell pharmacist. We both seemingly have our own biases here…
Regarding the sudafed issue and the archaic system of registration. Bartells, though large like Walgreens,does not, in fact have the same deep pockets Walgreens has to throw at technology. Walgreens most decidedly had a leg up on Bartells when it comes to their use of technology. But that is changing. Almost all the stores are using a new system that allows for easy access of client information across all branches. And I’m pretty sure, but don’t quote me, the sudafed registration issue is integrated into the computer system now. I’m in IT myself, and for years I harped on the issue Bartell’s better get up to speed with technology. They finally are. But it’s damn expensive.
As for my quip about english speaking pharmacists. Yes, it is absolutely a requirement. But poll 100 people and ask them of their service experience in a Bartells versus Walgreen’s and I guarantee you Bartells will come out ahead. Personalized service is at the very core of the Bartells mission. It is why my wife left Drug Emporium years ago to work for them, and why she refuses to work for hospitals and the big chains. Counting pills and dealing with moronic insurance companies is enough to drive anyone out of that profession. Without that connection to the customers why bother? I’m sure many at Walgreens feel the same way but at Bartells they’re dead serious about customer service.
Finally. The issue you raise about closing the pharmacy. Unlike Walgreens — who has been fined for overworking their pharmacists — Bartells tries not to do this. In this state, if a pharmacist is not present, you must close the pharmacy. So you have a store that is open 9:00 – 6:00. It isn’t a super busy store. Enough volume to justify one staff pharmacist. State law says a minimum of one 30 minute break and two 15 minutes breaks throughout the day. How is that to occur? Overwork them? Bring in a pharmacist for one hour? (hint: Pharmacists make a lot of money). You see the dilemma here? Again, keep in mind Walgreens has been repeatedly fined for basically telling the pharmacist to tough it out.
Thanks for playing…
personally I am offended with Bartells ads dissing hot yoga.
Lol. No worries StAl, I had you pegged for an insider since you knew the profitability of a privately held company. 😉
Full-er disclosure on my end: I actually worked at Walgreens Corporate in IT when I lived in Chicago, writing the system for moving incoming telephone calls around the pharmacy and prior to that for another vendor selling tech into WAG. 🙂
I didn’t stay long enough to vest any stock options, but was so impressed with the company I’ve held their stock in my retirement plans ever since and a lot of what I know comes from the annual reports, as well as the training I received or business problems I was asked to solve with IT.
I wanted to clarify what I meant by “local”. While Bartell is a chain, it’s a WA based company. The money we spend goes to the owners of this local company, and stays here. When they spend their money, hoping that they shop local too, the money circulates within our state. When we spend our dollars at Walgreens, the profits go to Chicago and we don’t see that money again.
Bartell does sell local crap. You won’t find neighborhood specific mugs, nor Troll Chia Pets, at Walgreens. Hahaha. Not a real argument, but sweet all the same.
Bartell corporate people are just as good at their customer service as their store people. I went to their facebook site and asked if they had any discounts on their 8×10 prints and canvases. Howie, the buyer, made a discount for me on the spot, and then posted it to their facebook site. 20% off both, and named it YANIsomething. That was pretty darn cool! You can bet that sort of thing would not have happened at Walgreens. The response would have simply been “no.”
Amazed everyone has the time to make such in depth comments about a drug store going in on the corner. Good grief.
John, I don’t think it’s about the drugstores per se, but defining who we are as a community, and what we want from it.
Been hearing a rumor that that Wal Mart is looking for a site in the Wallingford/Fremont ares for a 70,000 sf store. Any thoughts on where it should go?
Walmart? That’s hilarious. Can’t wait to see the comments when that happens.
I would go for a Walmart in Lake Union. Not on the shore, under the water. Could be a parking problem.
I’m actually enjoying reading people’s thoughts and comments about this–I like hearing both sides, and it’s great that we have this forum to express our opinions. (Well, it’s great as long as folks are polite and not hostile, which I think folks have been!) On a lot of blogs, I learn just as much, if not more, from commenters as I do from teh post itself.
There’s nothing down by Lake Union that’s big enough to put a 70,000 sf store and enough parking. It’s also too far from the freeway. Wal Mart usually wants to be .5 miles of a freeway offramp. Maybe they’re looking at The Good Shepherd Center property as a possible location?
prop3–wasn’t I building on your joke?
Not joking. Am I the only one that’s heard about this?
Don’t believe everything you hear.
Wasn’t that Wal-mart thing the Wallyhood April Fool’s Day post a few years ago?
I guess that living out at 45th and Stone, I have always thought of this as the edge of Wallingford, not its central core. Goodness knows that is the only reason I can afford to rent here (or that any rentals are available, period).
It is amusing to me for protected static to conveniently set aside Adobe/Getty while lauding the rest of Fremont’s small business space. 45th and Stone is where small business space ends and larger spaces begin on this side of Wallingford, just as once you head east past Sunnyside/Corliss the spaces get bigger for businesses (Seattle Orthopedic Clinic, the wine store, the liquor store, Dick’s, etc.). Likewise, the Fremont we all know and love exists north of 35th, while south of that is ginormous buildings providing lots of jobs, but of course severely altering the look and feel of the “traditional” neighborhood of Fremont.
In any event, tanning salons, banks, pharmacies, assisted living such as University House (one whole block), gyms, and other larger businesses are, in my mind, a natural progression towards larger (and/or slightly less urbane depending on your opinion) businesses cropping up on the outskirts of traditional neighborhoods such as Wallingford. To repeat, all of these things are on 45th and Stone, two commercial streets with lots of traffic, this isn’t happening at the corner of Burke and 42nd. QFC sits squarely in the middle of “old” Wallingford and is of course a huge convenience for everyone, along with Bartells which isn’t exactly small. If the core business district was overloaded with businesses wanting to move in to smaller storefronts, that would be one thing, but that, sadly, isn’t the case currently. Finally, the space that Beso del Sol once occupied is large, and absent a very severe alteration to the current building, it would be nearly impossible to carve up the bottom floor into multiple business fronts. Shoot, it has taken them over 6 months so far merely to renovate the entire space to allow Walgreens in, working every day of the week.
So, I guess I am thankful that some businesses that are less “small neighborhood” oriented exist on the outer areas of our neighborhood. They make it easier to live without a car, offer services that might not be ideal for the retail core along 45th, and provide more people to live in and experience Wallingford, even if they can’t afford to live between 40th and 50th bounded by Interbay and Thackery in a single family home. I don’t think the core character of Wallingford is being changed so much as some folks think that the core character should be extended to streets and areas that, for a long time, have always contained the less folksy and less neighborhoody buildings that remain important such as gas stations, mixed use developments, chain stores, dentists, acupuncture providers, gyms, auto parts stores, etc. It’s basically the same as it always was, just now with the new mixed use buildings, more folks can afford and enjoy Wallingford.
As long as we’re clear about it. You’re right, the core retail area seems to work fine where it is and doesn’t need to be drawn out to Stone Way, so if we want big developments out there, then small loss perhaps. As long as we aren’t kidding ourselves about the sterile excuse for a retail area we’re getting – and we have plenty of examples nearby, so there’s no excuse. (Though I agree with protected static that those smaller mixed use buildings on N 36th are better – interesting.)
wal mart in lake woudl be ideal. we could kayak or canoe.. or make use of the long planned but go nowhere cwb north lake development.. rent sail boats froom gasworks.
“It is amusing to me for protected static to conveniently set aside Adobe/Getty while lauding the rest of Fremont’s small business space.”
Why? We were (or at least, I thought we were) discussing mixed-use developments. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that the canal side developments were all zoned commercial/industrial and therefore aren’t an apples-to-apples comparison.