Content Warning: Capitalism
If you’ve walked down State Street in the past several weeks, you’ve surely noticed a new bright red bullseye logo shining brightly at 610. The new small-format Target store opened in October, and if KK-length lines are any indicator of success, it’s clear the new location is popular among students and local Madisonians alike — ultimately to the detriment of its neighbors.
Not far down the street at 676 State St. lies Walgreens, a beloved corner fixture still maintaining its early-aughts ambience. From the dimly lit aisles, candy overflowing around the checkout line and the ever-reliable expired milk placed stoically at the front of the shelf, entering Walgreens reeks of nostalgia, convenience and discount savings that are actually more expensive than even B*dger M*rket.
Now with Target only steps away, Walgreens’ business is suffering immensely. With total store sales falling from four packs of gum per week to one, Walgreens manager Jack Frieda reported the location will become a drug front in the coming months to keep the storefront open.
“Part of Walgreens’ appeal is that it’s a little sketchy, so for the sake of the business the best plan will be to lean into and fully embrace that,” Frieda said. “Right now, we are in talks with corporate and local dealers to transition toward becoming a full-time drug front.”
Frieda said that Walgreens on State will take cuts of dealers’ handlings, with cashiers fully aware and included in such plans. Secret hand signaling, false shelves and fake security cameras will help establish 676 State as Madison’s newest drug front — all while servicing Walgreens’ remaining 10 faithful customers.
“As a manager, firing your employees is heartbreaking,” Frieda said. “Now, we’re able to keep our staff and utilize local industry to enhance our business and ensure we remain the best Walgreens this side of State Street has to offer.”
Students can always walk even further toward East Campus Mall, where a second Walgreens will continue to operate as usual — a place where drug activity is still only relegated to the pharmacy.
Still, as Target continues to grow in popularity among Walgreens clientele, Frieda emphasized it’s important to stay vigilant and dedicated to the new side of the business.
“I’m envisioning a full-functioning front by hopefully January,” Frieda said. “For the sake of the Walgreens brand, we don’t plan on changing a thing about the store, but we will definitely try to be competitive and offer a wide array of [product].”
Though no announcements have been made yet on Yik Yak or subreddits, students have heard rumblings of Walgreens’ new endeavors.
“My freshman year roommate’s cousin who goes to MATC works at Walgreens, so I knew pretty early on about the whole drug front thing,” senior Smith Wollensky says. “For real, I’m excited, because now my plug is finally going to be close to class and State Street instead of [location redacted].”
Walgreens has not updated its decor and some items since early 2003, so the transition to a full-time front will surely be seamless. But, before the store is completely converted, students will have to resort to that one kid who your Witte neighbor’s pledge knew in high school for narcotics consumption.
UPDATE: Frieda has been detained for international smuggling crimes. Target to absorb Walgreens as Target Small-Format Satellite Location.
*Name has been changed.