World's second smallest Target opening in St. Paul
HIGHLAND PARK, Minn. -- The world's second smallest Target is about to open for business in St. Paul's Highland Park. Customers will no doubt notice differences when they begin perusing the aisles of the new TargetExpress set to open July 22 at t...
HIGHLAND PARK, Minn. -- The world’s second smallest Target is about to open for business in St. Paul’s Highland Park.
Customers will no doubt notice differences when they begin perusing the aisles of the new TargetExpress set to open July 22 at the former Barnes & Noble site off Ford Parkway. It will be the second TargetExpress in Minnesota. The first opened in Dinkytown last year.
There are no accent tables, TVs or golf bags on display, and you’d be hard pressed to find a new summer wardrobe in the store’s two clothing aisles.
The express model is substantially smaller than the giant big box stores Target rolled out in the past and is meant to be a quick trip locale tailor-made for the neighborhood around it, which in Highland Park’s case includes families, empty nesters and college students, according to Mandee Handrahan, the store’s team lead.
Different from the Minnesota Gophers T-shirts, dorm-sized trash bins and aisles of snack food and drink mixers at the roughly 20,000-square foot Dinkytown TargetExpress, the 16,000-square-foot Highland Park store will have a focus on wellness and families, Handrahan said. Think water bottles, yoga mats, free weights, child cough syrup, kosher items and an organics section, the first to be rolled out at a TargetExpress.
“Target did a really nice job of talking to the community and finding out what the community needed so that when we open, we have the right items on the shelves,” Handrahan said.
In addition to its Dinkytown store, Target also has two express locations in San Francisco, one earning the smallest store title at just 12,000 square feet. It expects to open another five across the country by the end of the year and two more next year as it shifts away from its big-box format and moves toward smaller stores in urban areas, according to Erika Winkels, a Target spokesperson.
It has no immediate plans for another express location in Minnesota. The last time it built a traditional-size Target in the Twin Cities area - most are about 135,000 square feet; Super Targets are about 175,000 square feet - was in 2012 in Inver Grove Heights.
The small store model is one of Target’s latest strategies to find firmer footing after suffering blows from a data breach in 2013 and a failed expansion in Canada. The retailing giant laid off thousands of employees this spring to better position it to compete against Wal-Mart and Amazon.
“More and more ... Target has (seen) people moving to urban centers, whether its families, empty nesters, millennials… We are trying to meet the needs of guests living in those locations,” Winkels said. “I think we’ll see more and more of these flexible format stores in the future.”
In addition to the wellness theme, the new Highland Park store is stocked with sporting goods, small electronics such as Fitbits and cameras, school supplies, a couple of clothing aisles and a pared down selection of home décor items such as lamps, throw pillows and bedding. It also has Target staples such as toilet paper, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, beauty products, pet food, cold and flu medicine and a pharmacy.
Shelves also will be stocked with jewelry, sunglasses tote bags and other accessories. About 33 percent of the floor plan is dedicated to groceries.
Another item you’ll find in Highland Park that didn’t make the cut in Dinkytown are toys, games and other items geared toward children.
Wares could change. After hearing gripes from collegiate athletes who frequented the Dinkytown TargetExpress about its measly meat selection, the store expanded its offering, Winkels said.
“What you see (in Highland Park) is sort of our best guess at what we think our customers will want, but certainly people can walk in and give (us) feedback … and change can happen pretty quickly,” Winkels said.
Residents are eager to see how the new store fits in to the retail center around it, said Kathy Curruth, executive director of the Highland Park District Council.
“I think people are excited to see what Target is going to bring in to our neighborhood … Is it going to be things we don’t need that Walgreens is already carrying or something new?” Curruth said.
TargetExpress is hosting the neighborhood’s Movies in the Park night at Highland Park Community Center on Aug. 6, Curruth said.
Residents sad to see Barnes & Noble’s depart from the location could end up seeing another one close to home in the future. A spokesperson for the bookseller said the retailer is looking at the St. Paul area and “greater Minneapolis metropolitan area” for potential store locations.