Peek inside the new mini Target near BU
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The newest Target to open in Boston, on Commonwealth Avenue, is small. Really, really small.
The floor area of the new store, opening Wednesday, is about one-10th the size of some Target locations. Situated near the Boston University campus, it will cater to students. If you're looking for children's clothes or DVDs, don't bother, because it doesn't sell them.
Think of it more along the lines of an overgrown convenience store, sizewise.
"Target sees Boston as a great place to move into this type of store," said Mike Maher, the store manager. "There's the first-time apartment owners and all the college students."
The new Target, the 29th in Greater Boston, measures just 16,100 square feet, compared to the typical location, which is about 130,000 square feet, a Target spokeswoman said. It sits about a mile from Target's Fenway location, a multifloor behemoth at 160,000 square feet. (It was originally called "CityTarget," but the company has since dropped the name.)
The reduced footprint store comes at a time when another well-known big-box retailer, Walmart, has been shuttering smaller stores. Walmart announced the closure of 269 stores of its 11,600 globally earlier this year, including more than 100 Walmart Express stores, its foray into small spaces.
Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the express format was a pilot and that the chain continues to grow and is adding dozens of new so-called Supercenters.
"One of the things the experience told us is we know customers prefer larger format stores and are increasingly turning to e-commerce," he said. "We have stores within 10 miles of 90 percent of the US population, so we've got good reach."
Target's new location, which will employ 70 people, sits in what was formerly the East Coast Alpine ski shop down the street from Packard's Corner, near BU. The store offers familiar cosmetics brands, a tech section featuring Samsung and iPhones products, and aisle after aisle of snacks, ready-to-eat food, and groceries. There's some clothing too, including T-shirts emblazoned with "Drink Up Boston" and "Wicked Smaht."
And because it caters to college students, the furthest corner of the store near the milk features a giant display of inexpensive pasta and Target brand red sauce for $1.72 a jar.
"We've worked closely to make sure we have the right assortment," Maher said.
Target said it will open another small store, which it calls a "flexible format" location, in Central Square in Cambridge in March.
"Target's flexible format locations aren't just downsized, they are customized," company officials said in a fact sheet. "These stores provide a quick-trip shopping experience with a curated assortment of merchandise for local guests."