Last July, the first of a new line of mini Target stores, called TargetExpress, opened in the retailer’s hometown, Minneapolis, right off of the University of Minnesota’s campus. In early July 2015, University of Maryland students in College Park will get a TargetExpress of their own, filled with products selected specifically with the college consumer in mind. Though we’ve criticized College Park for not being a very good college town, the addition of this store on Baltimore Avenue seems to be a step in the right direction.
Target has long been a bastion of college student-friendly shopping—anywhere that sells both dorm room furniture a few aisle away from rolls of cookie dough and frozen pizza is going to be a hit in the early-20s crowd. The new TargetExpress in College Park will be even more intentional about its audience.
“We saw a need in College Park for an exceptional quick-trip shopping experience and curated merchandise assortment localized for the community,” says Evan Lapiska, senior specialist of public relations at Target. “Target has done extensive research and listened to our guests to determine the right merchandise mix for the store, so it has been customized to fit the individual needs of the neighborhood.”
The 15,000-square-foot TargetExpress will be located on the ground floor of a new development—formerly the Maryland Book Exchange—at 7501 Baltimore Avenue, with 287 new student housing units on the floors above. The store will sell fresh grocery, home items intended for dorm rooms and first apartments, a tech selection of tablets and phones, and a lineup of University of Maryland fan gear. The fresh produce selection is particularly key, as College Park has been labeled as a food desert by the USDA, due to the fact that it is a low-income area where a significant number of residents don’t have easy access (i.e. are more than a mile in urban areas and ten miles in rural areas) to healthy foods.
You can take a virtual tour of the Minneapolis TargetExpress in a video the company published last July, and for any University of Maryland students looking for a summer job, the signs in the College Park store windows say they’re hiring.