Target announces plans to open campus store

Catherine Marfin

Target announced Thursday it will open a store adjacent to UT’s campus next year.

The store will be located at West 21st and Guadalupe streets in the Dobie Twenty1 student apartments and retail development and is scheduled to open in July 2017. The 22,000-square-foot store will be located in what was formerly known as Dobie Mall and will be smaller than Target’s other retail locations, which range on average from 135,000 square feet to Super Targets that span 175,000 square feet.

“Target is normally a huge physical building, but since we’re in downtown Austin, Guad has smaller buildings, and it has a certain feel to it,” textiles junior Savannah Tauzin said. “A smaller store on campus like this is great for kids who don’t have cars and can’t make it out farther to the bigger stores.”

Target said it will sell groceries, home and dorm items, clothing and UT apparel and accessories, among other products.

“Growth on college campuses and in urban markets is a priority for Target,” said Mark Schindele, Target senior vice president, in a written statement. “We’re able to serve more guests by adding flexible-format stores near top universities across the country, including the quick-trip shopping experience we’ll bring to the University of Texas campus. We’re thrilled to open our first flexible-format store in Austin and to join the Longhorn community.”

Target also announced plans to open similar stores on college campuses across the U.S., including the University of Florida, the University of North Carolina and Ohio State University. 

International relations sophomore Violeta Rivera said Target’s choice to build a store on campus is part of a larger trend.

“Many stores feel that a location like this wouldn’t be a benefit because they’re aware that students are buying food on campus or going to fast food, but the need for more fresh food options has been coming up,” Rivera said. “It’s just part of the trend.”

Economics junior Chris Vasquez said while Target can be more expensive than other stores, he doesn’t think this will deter students from shopping there.

“Walmart and HEB are miles away, and even though the prices may be higher [at Target], the cost of not wasting gas and time will be worth it,” Vasquez said. “Most students at UT come from the suburbs and are familiar with Target supplies. Smaller businesses just don’t offer the same products.”