A small Target supermarket is coming to Downtown Berkeley in March.
The TargetExpress — a more compact, city-oriented Target store — will be filling a vacant space on the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Allston Way. The store will be 12,000 square feet in size, a fraction of the size of a retail-size Target, and will primarily offer groceries, electronics and home and beauty goods, as well as a pharmacy, according to company spokesperson Kristen Emmons.
“With the TargetExpress format specifically, we offer our guests a convenient stock of essentials plus an experience that is distinctly Target,” she said.
The store is one of three TargetExpress locations coming to the Bay Area, including one planned for San Francisco’s Financial District. According to a press release, the stores will contain a selection of goods customized to fit their surrounding neighborhoods — in Berkeley’s case, an emphasis on food and basic supplies.
The TargetExpress will be built across the street from a Walgreens store, potentially causing competition. Michael Caplan, Berkeley’s economic development manager, said he hopes the “mini-mini Target” will have a selection broad enough to differentiate it from other stores in the area.
“A lot of students go to Target in Albany or Emeryville to buy products, so hopefully we’ll be able to obviate the need for some of those trips,” he said, adding that having a store to fill the long-vacant storefront would be beneficial for the community.
Student reactions thus far have been mixed. Ollie O’Donnell, a campus sophomore, said that one year after shopping there for dorm supplies, he went back to Target to buy furnishings for his apartment.
“Berkeley has waves and waves of people who need a Target every semester,” he said in a chat message. “I’m surprised we don’t have one already.”
To avoid shopping at drugstores, which O’Donnell said are pricey, some of his friends haul boxes’ worth of goods from Target back to their Berkeley homes. UC Berkeley sophomore Annie Xiong echoed the sentiment and said in a chat message that everyday items are “way overpriced” in convenience stores and pharmacies.
Students’ criticisms of the planned store include concerns about its size and usefulness. Campus senior Pranati Reddy said she felt most students only needed Target’s range of products a few times per year.
“It would be convenient to have an affordable and reliable store like Target closer (to) home,” she said in a chat message. “(But) I’m doubtful about the efficacy of the location. Targets are huge and their merchandise and stock covers areas that most college students wouldn’t really need.”
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