Target opened its shiny, new one-level store Wednesday at the Jantzen Beach Center, greeting surprised shoppers with an unannounced debut.
"I actually had no idea it was opening," said Jill Moe, as she browsed through the store's children's clothing at about 9 a.m. Wednesday. The St. Helens, Ore., mother of two had traveled to the Jantzen Beach mall in north Portland to shop at its Burlington Coat Factory. She found that store wouldn't open until 10 a.m.
"I said, 'Fine, I'll just go to Target,'" she said.
The new store's "soft opening" Wednesday was to test operations and work out any kinks before its grand opening scheduled for Sunday, said Heather Haak, the store's executive team leader.
Built to replace the Jantzen Beach mall's former two-story Target, the new 136,000-square-foot store includes a pharmacy, an in-store Starbucks with seating and a Pizza Hut Express counter. It also carries fresh groceries, including produce, packaged meats, and eggs and dairy products as part of Minneapolis-based Target Corp.'s expansion into the food business.
That's nothing new to Clark County Target shoppers, who already have groceries at all three Vancouver stores. but only the east Vancouver and Hazel Dell Towne Center locations have pharmacies.
"Target's overall initiative is to provide more options," Haak said. "You can grab something for dinner while you're getting a skateboard or clothes."
It took about four weeks for the new Target store's 100-employee staff to set up the venue, said Haak, who started working for Target three years ago at its former Jantzen Beach store.
That store, which crews demolished over the summer, was more "labor intensive" to stock and operate, Haak said.
The new building was constructed in the former store's north parking lot as part of an ongoing $50 million redevelopment of the Jantzen Beach Center by its owners, East Coast-based Edens, which own 130 retail centers. The work is aimed at improving accessibility to existing retailers, and included tearing down the old building, originally a Montgomery Ward department store.
Owners have spent years spiffing up the mall, now a stark contrast to the charred remains of the Thunderbird on the River hotel.
The next phase of mall construction is expected to bring a T.J. Maxx clothing store to the mall in 2013, although Edens would not confirm plans for the new tenant.
"We're not ready to release our other retailers coming to Jantzen Beach yet," said Ryan Panitz, a spokesman for Edens.
New roads through the revamped shopping center guide vehicles into the new Target store's parking lot right off the Interstate 5 exit. And a new configuration puts the center's parking in a large central area, while vehicles can drive outside the retail center via North Center Avenue and North Hayden Island Drive.
Retail analysts expect the remodeled center and its new Target store to attract Washington shoppers trying to avoid having to pay sales tax, as well as residents from a host of North Portland neighborhoods. The new store's nearest competitor is Vancouver's Grand Central Fred Meyer at Grand and Columbia House boulevards off state Highway 14. But it may also compete with the 136,000-square-foot Target store in Vancouver's Hazel Dell Towne Center, which abuts Interstate 5 off Northeast Hazel Dell Avenue and 88th Street.
As the nation's second-largest retailer, Target's 1,772 stores also compete head to head with Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., billed as the world's largest retailer with 10,300 Walmart-brand stores in 27 countries.
Walmarts come in a range of models, from Goliath-sized SuperCenters to the company's smaller, 42,000-square-foot Neighborhood Market. The grocery store concept is on its way to Vancouver at the Vancouver Plaza shopping center near Westfield Vancouver mall. Wal-Mart also is building a store in the Hayden Meadows shopping complex, just two I-5 exits south of the Jantzen Beach mall.
Other tenants of the Jantzen Beach shopping center include Old Navy, Staples, Sports Authority, Ross Dress For Less, Best Buy, Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Michaels, Petco, Pier 1 Imports, The Home Depot, Ritz Camera & Image, Video Only, Sleep Country USA, Bed Mart, Mattress Discounters, Casual Male and Stanford's restaurant.