A prototype for the tiniest Target of all time is coming to Dinkytown near the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
The New York Times reports the company has signed a lease for the first TargetExpress store. The smallest Target yet will take up just 20,000 square feet and will be located in the ground floor of an apartment building called the Marshall, currently under construction. It is scheduled to open July 27 as students return to campus.
By comparison, the CityTarget stores like the one on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis range from 80,000-125,000 square feet in size. The size of the standard Target store varies, but SuperTargets contain about 174,000 square feet.
Target's website A Bullseye View says the beta store will be about 15 percent of the size of its typical retail outlet. It adds that the smaller store will adapt to its customers. For example, "the checkout lane configuration will be catered to high traffic and smaller basket size, as compared to a general merchandise store."
TargetExpress will stock a mix of grocery and pharmacy items, grab-and-go food, and a small selection of basic clothing and electronics. One reason Target selected the Dinkytown location is for its accessibility to students, who purchase dorm decor and school supplies every year.
The Times story said the campus prototype will be a lab for the smaller concept, which may be replicated in dense urban markets where real estate is scarce and pricey. It is close enough to be regularly eyeballed and tweaked by staff at corporate headquarters just a few miles away.
John D. Griffith, Target executive vice president for property development at, said that Minneapolis, like a number of cities, has seen the trend of more people choosing to live in urban neighborhoods rather than in the suburbs. The Express store would cash in on convenience and customer familiarity with the brand.
“Many of them grew up with a Target experience,” Griffith told the Times. “Now, they show up at their cool little bungalow they’re redoing, they’re five miles from downtown, and yet, Target is a little bit of an effort to get to.”
Walmart opened its first small-format store, called Walmart Express, in Gentry, Arkansas – about 30 minutes from the Bentonville, Arkansas, company headquarters. When the first of the smaller Walmarts launched in 2011, the Daily Mail quoted William S. Simon, president and chief executive of Walmart’s domestic business, who said, "Small stores are going to be a very good growth opportunity for us because they allow us to get access in places we are not in today."