A miniature Target is now open in Rosslyn, occupying the ground floor of an office tower. At less than a sixth the size of a typical suburban Target, it shows how retailers are adapting to America’s increasingly urban reality.
The store had a soft opening last week, and an official opening Sunday. At 23,000 square feet, it’s about the size of a large Trader Joe’s, or a small Safeway. It’s minuscule compared to normal Target stores, which often top 150,000 square feet.
And yet, it’s got a little of everything, just like a normal Target.
A few years ago, when I lived in a Ballston high rise, I’d have killed to have a Target on the Orange Line. The only department stores I had easy access to were the Macy’s in Ballston and downtown DC. And, for a recent college grad spending way too much on housing, Macy’s wasn’t in my budget for housewares.
Now urban department stores are sprouting everywhere.
This is, by my count, at least the Washington region’s
fourth fifth urban-format Target. The first opened in the 1990s in Gaithersburg. Then came Columbia Heights in 2008 and Merrifield in 2012, then our first mini Target earlier this year in College Park.
Smaller stores may be the new normal
It’s not just Target and Walmart looking to get in on this game. Other chains are launching a new breed of mid-size stores, like this mini Target, in a race to fill the urban retail niche.
In 2013, Walgreens opened a new “flagship” store in Chinatown. At 23,000 square feet, it’s almost exactly the same size as the new Rosslyn Target, and twice a normal Walgreens.
And although their merchandise selections are a little different (the Target has more clothes and housewares, while the Walgreens has more beauty & health products), the Rosslyn Target and the Chinatown Walgreens are clearly evolving towards becoming a similar category of store: The not-quite-department-store, or the 21st Century general store.
Whatever you call it, it’s a growing retail niche.
Comment on this at the version cross-posted to Greater Greater Washington.