Mall shoppers may have noticed a less activity on the JC Penney side of Dakota Square this past weekend. That void was caused by the move of CVS from the mall to its new address at 520-20th Avenue Southwest.
While the move may have come as a surprise to some shoppers, "its been in the works for a couple of years," said Mike DeAngelis, director of public relations for CVS. The company closed on the relocation property in June 2007 and began construction in March 2008. The exterior was completed this fall and employees worked on the interior, building and stocking shelves and setting up displays, right up until opening week.
"It is very common for pharmacies to relocate to free-standing buildings because they are more accessible, are highly visible and more closely follow the shopping patterns of our customers," he said, adding that when the company does relocations, they try to stay close to the existing store to help ease customers' transition.
Prior to the move, CVS had been located between American Eagle Outfitters and The Teacher's Aid at Dakota Square since June 2006, after the company acquired Osco Drugstores from Albertsons, which was previously leasing the space.
In operation for more than 45 years, CVS is now the leading pharmacy retailer in the country with more than one billion prescriptions filled or managed annually. In addition to its pharmacy services, the company also supplies health, beauty and personal care products as well as photo development.
All of the management and staff of the mall store made the move to the new location, DeAngelis said, adding that with the extra space, the company might hire additional employees in the future.
With that extra space, now approximately 13,000 square feet, DeAngelis said shoppers will notice some distinct differences from the previous store layout. One notable difference is aesthetics both inside and out because the new location is the current CVS building prototype. In terms of products, the beauty section of the store was expanded in both quantity and variety of brands over what was capable at the mall location. With regard to the pharmacy, shoppers will now have access to a two-lane drive-up window service and for those picking up their prescriptions inside, shoppers now have more room to roam, a feature that should help increase customer service, DeAngelis said.
In addition to the physical expansion, "Another feature of the free-standing building is that we can expand our hours (of operation})," he said. The new store hours will be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
In the early part of February, DeAngelis said the store will have grand opening event to celebrate the relocation.
With the closure of the CVS store Saturday, there are now four vacant spaces at Dakota Square. But, compared to other malls across the country, Dakota Square is doing exceptionally well in terms of capacity, said Catherine Tweten, marketing manager for the mall, adding that in the present economy many companies are not willing to open up new stores.
The present conditions could change, especially in the western part of the state due to the oil activity in the area and the roughly 1,000 additional personnel coming to Minot Air Force Base, she said, but currently there are no new tenants for the vacant spaces.