A Walgreens in Palatka is turning heads after it added a dental office to its store, located at 719 S. State Road 19.
Walgreens announced that it's testing out a new business model. The company teamed up with Aspen Dental and built a dentist office where the photo area and cooler used to be in the Palatka store.
That store in Palatka is the first Walgreens store with a dental office.
"We just opened in December," Dr. Kevon Rennie said. He is the dentist at that office.
He said customers are still a bit surprised when they walk into this Walgreens and see a dental office inside.
"A lot walk in," Rennie noted. "They say they saw a sign and say, 'I thought it would be this tiny hole in the wall.' Then they walk inside and say, 'Wow. It's a real dental office!'"
With exam rooms, a lobby and hallway, it looks like and feels like a full dental office. But when you go walk out the door, you are in Walgreens.
A Walgreens spokesperson said the company selected Palatka because it's a "good demographic fit and the right size and scale for this particular pilot."
Putnam County is the second poorest county in Florida. Rennie says there's a need for dentistry here.
"It's a staggering demand," he said. "I have offices in St. Augustine and in Palm Coast. I probably see twice as many patients here than I do there."
Walgreens is adding hearing and optical offices in this Palatka store as well, putting doctors where the people are.
Rennie says during its two months in operation, he sees it's a smart move.
"We're booked out a month in advance," he said. "I need a second dentist in here to keep up with the demand already."
Rennie sees low income and blue collars patients. Some simply walk in to shop in the store, and then they make a decision to see a dentist.
He said the business model is so good, he's thinking about sinking his teeth into it and he already wants to buy this office.
"That's why I'm invested," he said. "I want it to work. I think it's a great idea."
A second Walgreens store with a dental office will open in Tampa sometime this year.