Target Just Opened 30 Mini Stores All Over The Country — Here's What They Look Like


In a move sure to make many college students raise a glass in celebration, Target recently announced that the company is planning on opening up a whole bunch of small-format stores near college campuses in the near future. What is a small-format Target, you ask? They’re basically mini-Targets that are custom designed to serve the neighborhoods in which they exist — and for college students in particular, they can be a huge, huge plus. Seven small-format Targets have opened on or near college campuses already in 2018; what’s more, several more are set to arrive before the year’s end. There are also even more planned for the future, too (that's a rendering of one planned for the University District in Seattle in the image up top). What a time to be alive, am I right?

As Forbes points out, small-format versions of much large retailers have been on the rise in recent years; along with Target, Kohl’s, Sephora, and Whole Foods have all begun experimenting with miniaturized, highly curated versions of their bigger stores in an effort to adjust to today’s e-commerce driven market. IKEA is even getting in on the action with a recently-announced small-format store set to open in the UK this fall. The idea is to provide a more intimate, personalized, and convenient shopping experience than consumers typically get online or at regular-sized big box stores.

Target has been toying around with various small-format models for a few years, refining the experience as they go. So, with their focus now primarily on college students and urban dwellers, it’s not exactly surprising to find that they’re planning on opening a whole bunch of small-format Targets on or around college campuses in upcoming years.

You obviously won’t find the full assortment of items you’ll find at a full-sized Target at the small-format stores; instead, think of them as holding a selection of “greatest hits” — the items that people who live in the specific neighborhoods in which the stores are located are likely to need, which they can simply run in, grab, purchase quickly, and go. But they’re certainly becoming the norm, so here’s a look at what you can expect from a small-format Target:


Small-Format Targets Are About A Third Of The Size Of Regular Targets

Your average full-size Target store is about 130,000 square feet. A small-format Target, meanwhile, is usually around 40,000 square feet, or about a third of the size of a regular Target. That said, though, the size of each small-format Target varies depending on the neighborhood; one of the smallest ones, which was opened in Wicker Park in Chicago earlier this year, measures a scant 12,800 square feet.


The First Small-Format Target Opened In 2012


Announced in February 2011, the tiny-sized store, which moved into Chicago’s Sullivan Center, marked the very beginning of Target’s test run of the shrunk-down format. At the time, it was called CityTarget; the intention, according to a press release, was to “offer guests the convenience of one-stop shopping with affordable fresh food, apartment essential, on-trend fashions, and exclusive designer collections,” whether they were residents, tourists, or anyone in between.


The Current Small-Format Model Is Based On A Mini Target In Minnesota

The store opened in 2014; a 20,000-square-foot space, it’s located near the University of Minnesota and caters directly to the school’s students. It was called TargetExpress when it first opened its doors.


The Small-Format Stores Are Just Called “Targets” — Same As The Regular-Sized Ones

The CityTarget and TargetExpress stores were rebranded in 2015 to underline the fact that all Target stores, regardless as to whether they’re regular-sized or small-format, are, y’know, Target stores. According to a press release, the goal for these small-format stores is always to provide guests with the full Target experience, including services like Store Pickup, within a brick-and-mortar shop that’s better suited for the urban areas in which they tend to exist.


The Stock Of Each Store Is Customized For The Neighborhood

Many small-format Targets are located on or near college campuses, but not all of them are; a number of others are located in urban or suburban neighborhoods where there might not necessarily be space for a full-sized Target. In all cases, though, the company consider the needs of the communities in which each small-format store is located and stock its shelves accordingly. As a press release puts it, “A small-format located near a bustling tourist shopping destination might have a vastly different assortment than another just six blocks away, located in a residential area with lots of families with kids and babies.”

Small-format stores located in areas with lots of families are more likely to carry a greater assortment of kids’ apparel and toys, for instance; meanwhile, college-based stores tend to carry a lot of “grab-and-go” lunch and snack foods, school supplies, daily essentials like toothpaste, and dorm room décor and living solutions.


19 Colleges And Universities Currently Have Small-Format Targets Nearby — And More Are On The Way


You can see ‘em all on a map here, but if you just want the list, those campuses are: UC Berkeley, San Francisco State University, the University of Southern California, UC Irvine, UT Austin, the University of Minnesota, Northwestern, the University of Chicago, the University of Cincinnati, Penn State, Ohio State, Florida State, University of Florida Gainesville, North Carolina State, UNC-Chapel Hill, the University of Maryland, NYU, BU, and Harvard. By the end of 2018, Brigham Young University, Tufts, and the University of Vermont will also have their very own small-format Targets, bringing the total to 22.

(Again, these aren’t the only small-format Targets that exist — but the college market fills a particular niche, so the ones seen here are of particular note.)


More Small-Format Targets Are Coming

Nearly 30 small-format Targets have opened over the last year; what’s more, according to Target, the plan is to continue opening more at a rate of around 30 per year for the next couple of years. Regular-sized Targets will continue to exist alongside them, too, of course, so you’ll have plenty of options depending on your market.

Is it true that good things come in small packages? Maybe not all the time, but in the case of your friendly neighborhood mini-Target, I'd say the answer is yes. Be on the lookout as they continue to roll out!