Thursday, August 29, 2019

A Tale of Two Targets, Part 1 - Let that Neon Shine!

Target #650
880 West Sand Lake Road, Orlando, FL - The Terrace at Florida Mall

     In the heart of Orlando, not too terribly far from downtown and the International Drive corridor, we find this Target store. Situated right next door to The Florida Mall, one of the largest and busiest malls in the state, you'd think this particular Target store would be a shining example of Target's latest changes - sleek, modern, and featuring all kinds of upscale amenities. Well, you'd be wrong if you thought that. Sadly, the Florida Mall Target is one of the chain's ultra low volume stores, meaning it's tiny, no-frills, and hasn't been touched in 20 years. However, while the term "ultra low volume" sounds scary, almost a tell-tale sign of potential closure, don't panic! Just because a store is considered to be "low volume" doesn't mean that it's unprofitable. Every store's situation is different, and this store seems to be pulling through in its own way. I'm still a bit surprised this Target isn't busier considering it's practically attached to one of the biggest destination malls in the entire state, but I won't complain. The interior is pretty cool and quite rare to see these days, especially in Florida!

     Target has operated this store in the shadows of the Florida Mall since July 24, 1991, opening as the main anchor to a new power center called the Terrace at the Florida Mall. The Terrace at the Florida Mall was developed by the Edward J. DeBartolo Corp., the same group that developed the Florida Mall next door. Along with Target, the Terrace at the Florida Mall would also include Service Merchandise, Phar-Mor, Marshalls, Jo-Ann Fabrics, and J. Byron as anchors (which we'll talk about more at the end of this post).

     With a 1991 opening, this store dates back to Target's early days in Florida. Target entered Florida in 1988 through the purchase of Richway, who operated a handful of stores in South Florida. Three years later in 1991, Target began a more serious push into opening stores throughout the rest of Florida, expanding their footprint to other parts of the state. Target's July 24, 1991 openings included a new batch of stores in South Florida to compliment the existing Richway stores, as well as additional batches of stores opening around Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville. Orlando's 1991 batch of Target store openings included 4 locations: T-647 in Altamonte Springs, T-648 on West Colonial Drive, T-649 on East Colonial Drive, and this store, T-650 at the Florida Mall. Out of those 4 stores three of them are still around (Altamonte Springs, East Colonial, and this one), however this store is clearly the most original one left from that batch.

     Besides an interior refresh in the early 2000's, this Target is still rather original to when it first opened. The layout of this store is a very outdated one for Target, dating back to this store's 1991 opening. Anyway, I'm sure the reason most of you came view this post was to see the pictures of this store's extremely outdated interior, so without further ado, let's head inside to check this place out...

     Stepping through the front doors, we find a cart stall and the tiniest Bullseye's Playground section I've ever seen. This store's Bullseye's Playground consisted of three little shelving islands like the ones you see in the above photo, and that was it. Guest Services is located in the background under the lower ceiling, but we'll take a closer look at Guest Services later in this post.

     Turning to the left upon entering the store we find the Target Cafe, or "Food Avenue" as the cafe was usually referred to in these older Target stores. The design of this Target Cafe is original to this store, although the color scheme and neon was updated in the decor change in the early 2000's.

     Here's a better look at the cafe, looking straight ahead at the ordering counter. This store doesn't have a Starbucks like most modern Target stores have, just this cafe. You could buy your usual Target Cafe fare here, including popcorn, soft pretzels, ICEEs, hot dogs, pizza, and the like.

     Turning the camera a little to the right now, we can see the cafe seating area. The soda machines are off toward the back in this image, with a few tables also wrapping around the back part of the cafe.

     Since it was close enough to lunch time when I was here, I decided to pop over to the classic Target Cafe for a snack myself. I ordered a soft pretzel, which you can see pictured above, because I had a 20% off coupon for one in Cartwheel for a taste of nostalgia.

     Now that AFB has had his snack, it's time to venture further into this store for a look at what I (and all of you) came here to see - Target's P01 decor! While there are still a decent number of Target stores with this decor floating around throughout the country, Target's recent remodeling campaign has brought an end of many of the classic 90's and early 2000's interior Target stores remaining out there. Presently, only two examples of pre-P04 decor (the first variant of Target's longtime red and neon package) exist in Florida. One of those stores is the one we're touring today in Orlando, the other being in Bradenton, which also has P01. In this photo we're looking down the left side of the store into the women's clothing department. This part of the store is part of the blue "color world", featuring blue paint on the walls and matching blue neon.

     Here we have a look from women's clothing back toward the main entrance and the cafe.

     The blue world continues beyond clothing and into housewares. However, we'll have a closer look at the housewares departments in just a moment.

     This store's fitting rooms are located in the back left corner of the building, decorated in plenty of blue and neon!

     Men's clothing is located just beyond the fitting rooms to my left in this photo, the shoe department to my right.

     Entering the hardlines side of the store, here we have our first look at a P01 hanging department sign. This sign for the baby department is the standard P01 style, however most of the signs in this store are of a much rarer (for P01, anyway) bilingual variant (which can be seen the the background here).

     In the P01 decor, the different color worlds also had matching aisle markers to correspond with their color world. In this photo we can see the blue aisle marker variant, with red and green variants visible throughout the rest of the store. The red variant of these aisle signs would later be carried over into Target's P04 decor.

     Looking back toward the fitting rooms, you can tell this is a rather quiet Target store. There really weren't too many people walking around this store on the day I visited, however, I did visit this store on a weekday afternoon. A lot of the people I did see walking around this store appeared to be tourists too, which isn't surprising. This Target isn't all too far away from the tourist district, and the Florida Mall next door is a popular tourist spot due to its size and variety of unique stores.

     The center portion of the hardlines side of the store is home to housewares, which carries on the blue color scheme from the softlines side of the store.

     Here we have a better look at this store's bilingual variant of the usual P01 signage, which from what I understand is a pretty rare find. The neighborhood just to the north of this store has a pretty high Hispanic population, which probably led Target to installing these signs here.

     Returning to the back wall of the store, we enter the red world. The red world is rather small compared to the blue and green worlds, comprising only toys, sporting goods, cleaning supplies, and pet supplies. What was really throwing me off was seeing the cleaning supplies in the back of the store here. Most Target stores from the P04 era to the present day have cleaning supplies located somewhere near the front of the store, either along the front wall or grouped with an expanded grocery department. Since this was my first visit to such an old Target store in over 10 years, being taken back to the old days of Target was a bit of a shock (but in a good way!).

     While that previous photo was looking mostly toward the cleaning supplies, this photo gives us a better view of the main aisle that runs through the red world.

     Toys and Games could be found in the back right corner of the store.

     From one of the toy aisles, here's a look at some of that Target neon that everyone loves 😀

     Stepping over to the back wall, here's a better look at the red neon. I didn't notice any burnt-out neon here, so this store is still keeping up with the maintenance on this stuff.

     Some red neon in the corner, as toys and games transitions into the seasonal department.

     From the red world, we now transition into the green. The green world comprised all the departments in the front and right sides of this building, including seasonal, electronics, health and beauty, grocery, and office supplies. Continuing on with our trek around the store, the seasonal department will be the first green world department we enter.

     Here's a look at some of the green neon on the walls. From the looks of it, my phone does a pretty good job of capturing pictures of neon without washing the stuff out!

     During my visit to this store, the seasonal department was in transition to Easter merchandise. With the transition just beginning, there were lots of pallets and boxes sitting around as employees began rearranging shelves and putting everything in place.

     Leaving the chaos of the seasonal transition behind us, here's a more calming look back into the blue world and housewares, as seen from the right side of the store.

     Leaving seasonal, the next departments we find are automotive and housewares, followed by electronics and the pharmacy.

     Here's more photos of the green neon for your viewing pleasure...

     If the exorbitant use of neon wasn't enough to show this decor's age, this sign does a good job of it too. While it's pretty hard to find the traditional type of film this sign is referencing, it's not completely wrong in the modern era either. Target does sell Polaroid film now that those cameras have become trendy once again, so I guess time has just come full circle for this sign.

     Here's a straight-on look at this store's electronics department, which is located in the front right corner of the building. Having electronics in this part of the store is very much a classic Target trait, as later remodels would push electronics to the back center part of the store. While all the electronics themselves were located in the corner, books, CDs, and DVDs were located in a series of aisles to my left in this photo.

     Just beyond electronics is the pharmacy counter. In the conversion of this store's pharmacy into a CVS, all the neon that would have been located over here was ripped out and painted red to conform to the usual CVS prototype.

     Standing in front of the pharmacy counter, here's a look back out into the main aisle, the electronics department encompassing most of this view.

     Rounding the corner, here's a look down the store's main front aisle. Health and beauty is located to my left, with books and other media/pop culture stuff to my right.

     While this store's decor and layout are a bit outdated, I can report back that I didn't see any VHS tapes floating around for sale here, so Target is keeping up with the merchandise at the very least!

     This store still had a large selection of books, CDs, and DVDs. While Target's recent remodels have been reducing the media selection to a handful of aisles, other Target stores also have seen these departments shrink in recent times to squeeze in a few more aisles of toys. Due to this store's old layout, it didn't appear those additional toy aisles were added, meaning the size of the media department is still fairly original.

     Continuing our journey down the front aisle, cosmetics is the next department we come across on the left, with office supplies coming up on the right.

     Here's a look at more green neon, as seen from the front wall in health and beauty.

     The last department we have to tour in this store is the grocery department. The grocery department in this store is tucked between the front checklanes and health and beauty, and if you blinked you would have missed it walking by. Yes, this store's grocery section is really small. Target never really began to push for larger grocery offerings until the P04 era, and it wasn't until the introduction of P-Fresh in the P09 era when Target really wanted to step up their grocery game. All together, this store had maybe 7-8 short aisles of grocery items, with a small section of freezers along the front wall.

     Here's a look down one of the grocery aisles, this particular aisle featuring breakfast foods.

     Along the front wall were these coolers, giving this store a small selection of frozen and refrigerated offerings.

     For some reason I decided to peek in one of the coolers to see how much milk was here. Typically, Target is one of the cheaper places for milk in town, with a gallon of milk going for somewhere between $2.39 and $2.59 depending on which store I'm at. When I saw the price of milk here, I thought I was seeing things - $1.32 a gallon! That's crazy cheap! (And remember, $2.59 a gallon is considered really cheap in my area for a gallon of milk, as Publix usually charges $3.79 for a gallon). I don't know what kind of deal was going on this day, but Target really wanted to push the milk here!

     Bargains aside, here's a look down another grocery aisle, this one containing sodas and other beverages.

     With our tour of the grocery department complete, we find ourselves at the front end once again...

     This store had 14 registers total, including the four new self-checkout lanes.

     Guest services can be seen in the background here, as well as the windows for the upstairs offices (a common feature in these early 90's Target stores).

     Speaking of those new self-checkout lanes, here's a photo of one of them. Notice anything odd about this? Earlier this year, Target began installing self-checkouts at the last few stores in the area that had yet to receive them. These self-checkout units replaced the old express lanes, which were never used all that much anyway. These self-checkouts seem normal, and function normally - that is, until you go to pay with cash. That's where the odd part kicks in. My local Target also go these same weird self-checkout units earlier this year. When you pay with cash, instead of the machine sucking in the money like self-checkouts do at most stores, these don't. When you press the button to pay with cash, a message appears on the screen calling the self-checkout attendant over. At that time you hand the money to the attendant, who processes the cash payment for you with a regular cash till that pops out from under the self-checkout machine, just like on a regular cash register. It's the weirdest thing. I've asked the self-checkout attendants at my local store about this system, and none of them really have much of a clear reason for why Target installed these machines over the automated ones. I don't have a problem with this system, but if you've never experienced these machines before, it will catch you off guard when you pay with cash.

     Leaving self-checkout, our last interior photo before heading back outside looks toward the Guest Service counter.

     And there you have it - Orlando's P01 Target. Visiting this store will take you back to a different era of Target, and it's very much worth a stop if you're ever in the area. Right now I haven't seen any plans for this store to receive a remodel to Target's latest decor, so P01 will remain in Florida for a little while longer at least.

     While we've finished our tour of the Target, let's take a quick spin around the rest of the Terrace at The Florida Mall: 

     Here's a map showing the entirety of the Terrace at The Florida Mall, labeled with all of the original anchor tenants. At the bottom left of this image is a portion of the Florida Mall itself, showing how close it is to the Target plaza.

     The first two stores we see here are the former Service Merchandise and Phar-Mor locations. American Signature now occupies the former Service Merchandise space, and didn't leave much behind from Service Merchandise. Service Merchandise closed this store in 1998, and American Signature came along in the years after that. Next door at the old Phar-Mor, that space has been split between Bed Bath & Beyond and an Orange County Tax Assessor Office. While Bed Bath & Beyond has remodeled away everything from Phar-Mor on their part of the building, The Tax Assessor's Office actually kept Phar-Mor's original facade. Phar-Mor closed this store during their first bankruptcy in 1994. This Phar-Mor was a replacement for an older store located in the plaza across the street.

     This Marshalls store is original to the plaza's opening in 1991, and still seems to be going strong today.

     Jo-Ann fabrics is pictured here in an old Orange County Tax Assessor photo. Jo-Ann closed this location in the late 2000's, with a gym now occupying this space.

      The last anchor we have to see here at the Terrace at The Florida Mall is the old J. Byron store. J. Byron was a Florida-based department store chain, whose locations were primarily located in South Florida. J. Byron did expand into other parts of the state over the years to varying degrees of success, including the Orlando area. For most of the 1970's and 1980's, J. Byron was owned by Eckerd Drugs, interestingly. I don't know if this store closed outright as Byron's, or if it lasted until the chain was sold to Upton's in 1996. Regardless, in the years after J. Byron left, this building became home to a store called World of Decor, which has since closed. As of early 2019, this anchor space is still empty.

     With our tour of the Terrace out of the way, that completes this post! Here's one last look back toward Target to conclude with, out glimpse into the days of Target past. Coming up soon I'll be featuring a tour of another Orlando area Target store, however it will be one that received Target's latest remodel (as I'm sure there are some curious about that). I'm not sure if that post will be next or if I'll feature something else in between, or if Hurricane Dorian will blow me away in a swirling vortex of fury. Regardless of what the weather throws at me, not even the strongest hurricane will stop AFB and MFR from continuing on. It might delay me a bit if my power goes out, but let's hope for the best, and I'll be right back on the blog as soon as I can.

Anyway, that's all I have for today. So until the next post,



  1. Cool Target! I'm glad to see a store still cling on to P01...for now.

    1. It was fun seeing this decor again after so long. From what I heard, there aren't any plans to remodel this store through 2020, so P01 still has a little life left in it!

  2. I was going to say the same thing about your phone capturing the neon really well! Mine always tended to wash it out. I need to see what my new phone does next time I'm there.

    Anyway, pretty cool to see this store! I've only gotten to experience P01 once, and I would love to be able to see it again in person, but until then these photos are a nice substitute :) Neat indeed to see cleaning supplies still in the back (even Horn Lake moved those up front, when they got the expanded grocery!), and that pharmacy in the corner is interesting, too; don't know if I've seen that particular setup before. And the red semicircle piece on the front exterior is odd as well - I know that's normal for that era, but it looks strange tacked on like that. (Of course, I'm assuming it was tacked on - surely it's not original!)

    Speaking of Horn Lake's grocery expansion, I really wish I knew when exactly it took place... it's been like that as long as I can remember, and I have to assume it was done during P01's tenure, seeing as how the store also received the P01 aisle markers at that time (and I think the checklane lights may be from that package too). Also, thanks as always for the clarification on ULV stores - always comforts me to hear that ULV doesn't equal unprofitable :)

    While I'm positive I'll like this store better, I'm looking forward to your next Target post as well. And stay safe with the approaching weather!

    1. For a cheap now 3-year-old phone, it has some pretty good photo taking capabilities! However, besides this Target and the little bit of neon found in the Marketplace Winn-Dixies, my phone never gets too many other opportunities to photograph neon :(

      I've only seen P01 twice myself - this store, and at a store in Pennsylvania a really long time ago (which has long since remodeled to P09). It was a fun experience seeing it again all these years later, especially since Target was pretty thorough in remodeling stores in these parts in the mid-2000's. In my research, I found quite a few Super Targets that clung onto P01 until 2016/2017 around here, but those ended up being some of the first stores to get remodeled to P17, unfortunately.

      Besides the decor, the layout is what really seals the deal in making this a classic Target store, considering that it never got any of Target's layout changes from the later part of the 2000's. The pharmacy in the corner is normal for a store of this era I believe, as I've see that before in other stores of this age (including T-647, which opened the same day as this store). The red semicircle does look odd on this store, probably because nothing else about the facade was touched during the P01 remodel. The bar looks much better on these older stores when done like this:

      I can't say for sure when the Horn Lake Target expanded, but maybe 2003-ish would be my guess (right on the edge of the transition to the P04 era, when those grocery expansions became much more common in remodels). Again, that's just a guess though. And no problem! Anything to calm those nerves about anything happening to the beloved P97 store :)

      Hopefully I'll be able to provide everyone with that next post sooner rather than later. Let's hope Dorian will cooperate and stay offshore like Matthew did a few years ago!

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  4. What a cool old Target! That soft pretzel looked pretty good too! I guess if it weren't for the tourists this place wouldn't have much of a shot at staying open. The Panama City Target never seems very busy anymore, but then again that area is still suffering greatly from Hurricane Michael. The only Super Target I've ever been to (Sanford) didn't seem busy either. One thing that is most surprising about Target from your posts on them is cheap milk!

    1. The pretzel was good! I find it weird how quiet this particular Target is, being right next to the Florida Mall. The neighborhood just to the north of here looked a bit iffy when I was driving through it, and maybe that has something to do with the light business here too. My local Super Target in Viera draws a decent crowd. Certainly not the Walmart type mobs, but just enough to where getting in and out isn't a horrible experience.

  5. I work for Target and my store has the same weird self-checkouts. The reason I was given is that these are put in the low volume stores, so this fits in line with how you said this was an "ultra low volume" location at the beginning of your post. A weird place to cut corners admittedly, but hey, it is what it is.

    1. So far I've seen this type of self-checkout at 4 Target stores: Melbourne, West Melbourne, Port St. Lucie, and the store from this post. There was a deleted comment above that gave essentially the same explanation as you, as the components on these self-checkouts are essentially the same as that of a regular Target register, so they're cheaper to fix when they break (and are probably cheaper units to install overall, bringing costs down for these slower stores). The cash collection system doesn't phase me at all anymore since my local store has these and I've gotten used to it, but I can see how it will throw someone off if they've never encountered this system before.

    2. One of my local stores is low volume but doesn't have the self-checkouts, whereas another isn't low volume does. I hope that doesn't mean anything for the low volume location that it hasn't gotten them. It's also never been remodeled since it opened in 1999. (Not that I want it to be, but I'd rather that than it close down entirely, of course...)

  6. one of my local Targets in the area (I'm from Pittsburg, CA) used to have this Color World look until they remodeled the store in 2015. The format is still the same, they just rearranged the aisles, removed all the neon, and gave this whole store a bland, boring red paintjob along with bland signasge. Seeing photos of older Target stores like this felt very nostalgic.

  7. I work at this Target and we are proud to announce a complete remodel starting in July. Come visit us while you can still enjoy the nestalgia of a 90's gem.