I have been to the Walgreens on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood twice. Once to behave like a “normal” shopper to assess the store for this story and another time for its opening party last December, where an unusual cadre of celebrities gathered to partake of the sushi that was being passed around to demonstrate just how different this Walgreens is from ordinary drugstores. But I have been to the site of the Walgreens on many, many occasions. Before it was a Walgreens, it was a Borders, and for a very brief period, I lived in the Sunset + Vine apartments above that Borders. If I’m being candid, I was the least-cool resident of the complex. I lasted less than a year before jumping ship to a leafy neighborhood in family-friendly Culver City.
When I initially thought about Walgreens with a Look Boutique, its upscale beauty concept, I figured it wouldn’t fit in either. The only other Look Boutique I had visited in California was at a store in Los Gatos, Calif., a tony Silicon Valley community filled with those who have discretionary income to burn on the likes of La Roche-Posay and Kinerase. While Hollywood isn’t for paupers—rents at Sunset + Vine rise above $2,000 a month—its household incomes don’t compare to the $210,000-plus in Los Gatos.