New Target location to open in Berkeley this weekend

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A new small-format Target store designed to cater to the needs of Berkeley community members will open Nov. 12 at 1414 University Ave.

The new Berkeley West store will carry a selection of products tailored to those living nearby, including UC Berkeley students and staff. Products will include apparel, fresh groceries and meal essentials, health and beauty products, portable technology accessories and decor items for apartments and dorms, according to a press release. The new location will also include a CVS Pharmacy and a Starbucks café.

Because of its smaller format — the store will be 23,000 square feet, compared to the average 130,000 square feet at other Target stores — the Berkeley West store relies on flexibility and customer feedback to stock a leaner and more-targeted selection of products, according to Bethany Wilson, store team leader at the Berkeley West store. Wilson said the store is designed to be streamlined and convenient.

“We’re able to custom tailor the assortment based on feedback from guests,” Wilson said. “If there’s something we need to carry more or less of, we can try to provide it.”

Berkeley West store will join two other local Target locations — one small-format store at 2187 Shattuck Ave. and another location in Emeryville.

At its opening, Berkeley West Target employees will distribute complimentary reusable bags to the store’s first 1,000 customers, according to the press release.

Jared Lee, the owner of Lee’s Florist and Nursery, which is right next to the Target location, said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the new store. Lee added that the location, which was previously occupied by a thrift store, has been vacant for about a year and a half. He said he is glad that the space will be occupied again.

“Having all the construction issues has been a pain in the butt,” Lee said. “But having that space be empty and wasted is worse than that.”

Lee said he would have preferred that the location be filled with a grocery store. He added, however, that he thinks the Target will do well in the area.

Wilson said Berkeley West Target will give out a total of $6,000 in grants to three local nonprofits: Berkeley Youth Alternatives, which provides health, education and financial services to vulnerable members of the Berkeley community; Jefferson Elementary School; and Rosa Parks Environmental Science Magnet School.

According to the press release, the store will employ about 70 Target employees.

“We’re really proud to share that there are a lot of local residents, as well as UC Berkeley students, (among our employees),” Wilson said.

Contact Sam Levin at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @SamJLevin.