Students can’t miss the red doors of State and that’s the point


Rumors of a miniature target have long permeated the Madison community, and now you can’t miss the stark red doors while walking State Street. At the heart of off-campus student accommodation and favorite eats, the small but powerful supply depot has quickly become a competitor to Walgreens and Fresh Market for everything from groceries to toiletries.

But between the abundance of Sabra snacks in the downstairs fridge section, the provision of Room Essentials bedding, and Khalid blasting on the speaker – this target is aimed at college students in a not-so-subtle way.

The picturesque storefront highlights a continuing retail battle on college campuses. Formatically, Target took excessive campaign events, hosting after-hours shopping events with live DJs, cheerleaders and mascots, grossing an estimated $ 50 billion in back-to-school sales.

But in highlighting Target’s transition to downsizing, the creation of a window store on the University of Minnesota campus in 2014 emphasizes an investment in community stores with reduced inventory for convenience. of the local population. Ultimately, college students have become valuable consumers for national retailers, as building a loyal following among Gen Z and younger generations foreshadows the potential for lifelong customers after graduation.

With the threat of an Amazon Prime takeover, Target has also seized the opportunity of its competitors to create a modern and inexpensive shopping experience for students on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

My first experience in the new Target was with my mom, who was more than confused about the appeal of such a small store. But I immediately understood the appeal of State Street Target’s two-tier layout.

We were probably entry and exit within fifteen minutes, thanks to the ease of short health and beauty product aisles, a quaint grocery department on the lower level, and eight self-service checkout stations at the door. The price is also tailored to the working student – bananas sold individually for 19 cents each and half a gallon of milk for under $ 3. Notoriously low prices for groceries have eclipsed the lack of specialty products in which other stores, like Trader Joes, are experts.

You immediately notice the lack of quintessential sections for a larger target, like his famous toy section or clothes racks full of counterfeit Lululemon, and yet I could easily find the essentials on my shopping list. This State Street style target was designed to be practical rather than walking the aisles.

The efficiency and speed of my experience proves how unmistakably this target is designed for students on the go.

Foot traffic is about 75% of what it was before the pandemic, indicating the decline of professionals working in downtown Madison and an increase in the popularization of remote working. Creating a “student-friendly” business model like State Street Target can attract a key consumer base in the city and overcome losses from the pandemic.

But what are we to make of this power dynamic, knowing that we, students, are strategically targeted consumers? More so, what does the mini-target mean for the rest of State Street?

Well, it looks like State Street won’t be overrun with mini-Walmarts or tiny Bed Baths and Beyond anytime soon. I think the surrounding national chains like Chipotle, Taco Bell, Starbucks and the latest entry, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers are balanced with the 80% of local businesses in the State.

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The Madison campus is a unique community full of culture and character from the many small businesses that are here to stay. Rather than fear the repercussions of a large retail company hogging college campus communities, this mini-target is likely to become an intertwined State Street staple.

Madison Targum is a second year journalism student with a certificate in digital studies. Do you think the mini-Target will be successful with UW students? Send all comments to

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