The Vervalen Street mall in Closter, NJ known as Closter Plaza is getting a facelift, thanks to the folks at EDENS, a shopping center development firm. Previously in this plaza there was a Kmart, a bunch of smaller shops, and a Clearview Cinemas. Now, Closter is potentially looking at one of the premier shopping centers of the county with spots including: Whole Foods, Dollar Tree, HomeGoods, Massage Envy, Bareburger, Chipotle, Cinemex, and more.
Today, Target opened its doors for Closter’s Mayor John Glidden and many other VIPs for a ribbon cutting ceremony. The store’s Grand Opening is November 5 but lucky individuals, like yours truly, got to experience this brand new Target this evening, starting at 6pm.
VIPs were treated to all sorts of goodies like Bullseye the Target dog, a reusable tote bag, and many snacks all around the store! Vitamin Water, Monster, Honest Tea, cupcakes, croissants, some local pizza, as well as complimentary hors d’oeuvres like pigs in a blanket, fried mozzarella, meatballs, chicken wings, and fried calamari.
This is where the evening began to fall flat. I quickly realized how limited this Target was. Aside from the fact that they were using only some of the finite space from the old Kmart, it felt like they were not even maximizing all the space they were given.
All departments inside were half the size of your typical Target. On top of that, I noticed that many (not all) items were on average $2 more expensive. (There was, however, one specific item I found that was $14 more expensive than any other Target.) At first I thought it was because of the kind of neighborhood it was in, since Closter is a bit more affluent. But the more I walked around, the more it began to feel like a “Target Express”. For all my collector readers, you know you’re in trouble when you can fit DC, Marvel, Power Rangers, WWE, and Star Wars in one photo. The store’s inventory was extremely limited! (Though, one employee mistook me for a vendor and thought I was there to deliver trading card inventory. That means there could be some more stuff on the way, but keep reading…)
Everything felt so compressed… even the price scanners were hard to find. Products were on endcaps that made no sense. And the layout of the store wasn’t even anywhere near your typical Target’s. This led me to ask an employee what the deal was, which led to two more employees because they didn’t know the answer. I asked why it felt like a mini Target and why the prices were higher. Finally, one employee explained that this is a new endeavor by Target Corp. called “flex format” stores. This is a newer development by the current CEO, Brian Cornell, allowing Target to open smaller stores across the nation and targeting (no pun intended) key departments that meet the specific needs of a neighborhood. The employee explained that it’s similar to Duane Reade – that there may one day be many Targets, easily accessible, but different item selections and varying prices.
Don’t worry, though. If Target.com has your item at a lower price, you still have the option of taking an extra step in your shopping process to price match before purchasing… or just go to a real Target. Still, if you’re in the area and you’re in a pinch for time, a “flex format” Target may have what you are looking for.
I did like walking around and seeing the new aesthetics like the department signage, the online order pickup desk, the in-store Starbucks, and the new mini shopping carts! It was a very clean environment with an all-hands-on-deck atmosphere. (I overheard some employees talking about how they were from the Paramus location for this event. That explains how there were so many workers there tonight. Over-helpfulness at its friendliest.)
The holidays are just around the corner, people! Shop smart!
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