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Photos: New Walgreens Opens in Covington

The new Walgreens at the corner of Martin Luther King Blvd. and Madison Ave. is now open for business.

The doors opened for the first time Friday morning following a ribbon cutting that featured representatives from Walgreens, the Covington Business Council, and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

The new location replaces the previous one two blocks north on Madison Ave.

This Walgreens is the first of its kind in the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati region and is representative of the design and functionality that the company hopes to create more broadly as it develops new locations.

"It's all about delivering an experience," said store manager Michael Harris, who joined the Covington location in mid-August after running a store in Cincinnati. "We want to branch out and provide services that maybe we couldn't before."

Those better services include a re-imagined pharmacy department that will improve consultation and immunization services. The technology, the layout, the signage, the window height, and even the direction of the aisles are part of a new Walgreens strategy unveiled for the first time in this region at the Covington location.

The most important change, Harris said, is how employees interact with customers.

"You can pretty up a building all you want but if the employees don't deliver up the experience that is meant to happen (it's meaningless)," he said.

The new Walgreens was not without controversy, however, since its construction required the demolition of a nineteenth century mansion that sat on the site directly south of Covington's most prominent landmark, the St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption.

The Diocese of Covington sold the property to Covington-based Anchor Properties which developed the Walgreens and still owns the site.

The design phase was prolonged as Anchor worked with the City of Covington's urban design review board, zoning, and local preservationists.

In September, the under-construction building was tagged with graffiti.

Attractive landscaping and seats for visitors to view the Cathedral are part of the location's strategy to be integrated more seamlessly into the prominent and heavily trafficked intersection.

When the doors opened at 8 a.m. Friday, customers immediately started to filter in.

"We're thrilled to have services and technology at our disposal to do things we weren't able to do before," Harris said.

Story & photos by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News