Target offers all that college students need in order to survive: junk food, toiletries, exercise equipment, cleaning supplies, affordable dorm décor and so much more. Yet, BC students hardly ever set foot in this shopping mecca throughout the academic year, save for the “Target Night” during Welcome Week of freshman year. This all could change in the coming months with the opening of a new urban Target store in Boston.
Currently, the closest Target location to campus is in Watertown, which is largely inaccessible to BC students via public transportation. As a result, students often resort to grocery shopping at the proximal CVS locations in Cleveland Circle or Chestnut Hill, which is hardly economical and offers very few food options. This is all set to change, though, as Target will open one of its new urban concept stores, or “CityTarget,” next year in the Fenway area, conveniently located right on the D branch of the MBTA Green Line.
The new CityTarget will rise four stories in height and will occupy 160,000 square feet in floor space, which is even larger than a traditional Target retail store. As most people know, Target stores are typically located in the suburbs, but so far CityTarget stores have opened up in Seattle, Chicago and Los Angeles downtown areas, incorporating a sleek, bright white color palette and even offering Wi-Fi. The upgraded design aesthetic aims to give Target a leg up on city-oriented Wal-Mart Express stores, as a part of Target’s rebranding efforts in order to appear more high-end.
To cater more specifically to city-dwellers, the store will eliminate most lawn-care merchandise from its selection of products, and swap large patio sets for two-person bistro sets. Similarly, the store will offer more “grab-and-go” food options (including a second-floor Starbucks) and scale down the size of its bulk merchandise, with 8 pound bags of dog food instead of the 40 pound options available at traditional Target stores.
The CityTarget stores are supposed to be less visually overwhelming than the traditional Target, but it is yet to be seen if the model will indeed prove successful. Target has thrived on the growth of the suburban lifestyle, but this trend has slowed in recent years, so these urban CityTarget stores are venturing into largely uncharted territory.
Target seeks to grow sales by reshaping itself to fit urban environments, based on the assumption that many people living in cities were traveling to the suburbs in order to reach its retail locations. It will be interesting to see how city-dwellers respond to their own shiny, new version of Target, right in the middle of a bustling metropolitan setting. Regardless of how the general population will respond to the new Fenway location, it’s a pretty safe bet that many a BC student will be willing to hop on the T for access to the new shopping experience that CityTarget will offer.