718 Maguire Boulevard, Orlando, FL - Colonial Marketplace
The last time I posted about Target on MFR, we saw a classic store still sporting an interior decor from nearly 20 years ago. Today we're going to skip to a different part of Orlando (as well as 20 years into the future) to see what Target is doing today...
Now remodeled just for you! With that banner hanging from the side of the building, you can probably tell what the subject of this post will be about: Target's recent remodeling spree. Started in 2017, Target announced an aggressive remodeling campaign that would include full remodels of 1,000 stores by the year 2020, with nearly all of Target's stores receiving some kind of attention by 2023. The Target we'll be touring today in East Orlando was included in the first remodeling wave of 2019, and has the most common (aka, most basic) version of the recent remodel package, which is officially called 'P17' (meaning 'Prototype 2017').
The Target we'll be touring today is located along East Colonial Drive, right across the street from one of the Orlando area's most famous beguiled malls: Orlando Fashion Square (a story for another day, as it's a long one). Ironically enough, while the old, ultra low volume P01 Target we saw last time was located right next to one of Florida's busiest malls, this much busier Target is located next to one of Orlando's most ailing malls. Go figure. Anyway, unlike most of the Target stores in Central Florida, this building actually predated Target's arrival by quite some time. While this store was part of the original batch of four Target stores to open in Orlando on July 24, 1991, this building dates back to 1973. Originally, this building housed a store called Gold Triangle. Gold Triangle was owned by Federated Department Stores, and was a hardlines chain that was designed to compete with Montgomery Ward's Lechmere stores. Gold Triangle was supposed to be a sister store to Federated's more famous discount chain Gold Circle, which was later absorbed into Richway and sold off to Target in the late 1980's. While Gold Circle/Richway was later sold to Target (that sale marking Target's entrance into Florida in 1988), Gold Triangle was shut down in 1981 after only 13 years in business. Really, it's a pure coincidence that Target would later occupy this building.
What you read above was only a brief summary of the history of Gold Triangle. Instead of me writing three paragraphs trying to rehash the history of that chain, I'll just link you to this post on the Sky City Retail Blog (which also has pictures of Gold Triangle too!). The Sky City blog has a very nice write-up on Gold Triangle. I highly recommend you read that article, as it will give you a much better understanding of the chain than anything I can rehash!
After Gold Triangle folded in 1981, I can't find any record of another store occupying this building between then and when Target opened in 1991. If anyone knows of anything that occupied this building between then, please let us know in the comments. When Target took over this building, they heavily modified the exterior to fit their standard prototype. If you read the Sky City post, you'll have seen that all the Gold Triangle stores once had very distinctive pyramid-shaped entryways. This building had one of those right about where the "now remodeled" banner was hanging according to the historic aerials. While Target relocated and reconfigured the entrance prior to moving in, they did a surprisingly small amount of interior work before opening. For this store's first 10 years or so, the inside remained fairly in-tact from the Gold Triangle days. From what I read, this store had a very odd interior layout in its early days due to its Gold Triangle past. Around 2000/2001-ish, Target expanded this store out the back to increase salesfloor space. During that early 2000's remodel, the feel and layout of the interior was changed to conform to Target's standard design of the time. These days you'd never know this place was anything but a Target after stepping inside. Besides a weird lower ceiling that runs along a portion of the back salesfloor, there isn't much out of place here to make you think this store wasn't built as a Target.
Now that we've learned what Gold Triangle is, let's get back to the topic at hand: Target remodels. As of early 2019, this store has been remodeled to Target's P17 decor. Prior to that remodel, this store had the P09 decor (which was installed when this store received an expanded grocery department in the late 2000's/early 2010's). There are plenty of pictures of this store on Google with the prior decor package, which you can see here (mixed in with some more recent post-remodel photos). Prior to the P09 remodel, this store had P01 (the decor package we saw at the Sand Lake Road store linked earlier in this post). Before that Target's order of decor packages gets a bit murky, but a 1991 opening would mean this store had a decor like this or this originally. So over a span of 28 years this place has gotten 4 remodels, which is a pretty good track record of refreshes.
Stepping inside and looking immediately to our left, we find the new in-store Starbucks. Prior to the P17 remodel, I don't believe this store had a Starbucks, just the old-school Target Cafe. One major change coming with this latest remodel sweep is the end to many of the classic Target Cafes. In most cases, the cafes are replaced with a new or expanded Starbucks counter, or a Starbucks and a self-serve cafe featuring fountain drinks and store-made popcorn. It's sad to see the old Target Cafes go, as the smell of popcorn has almost become synonymous with stepping into Target!
Spinning around from Starbucks, we find the revamped Guest Service counter. I have a more detailed photo of the Guest Service counter coming up at the end of this post.
As usual, you enter Target walking past the cafe/Starbucks and through Bullseye's Playground, home of impulse buys galore. I have to say Target is one company that has impulse buying down to a science, especially if they can spawn memes like this!
Now that we've braved Bullseye's Playground and left it without stuffing a handbasket full of things I didn't realize I needed, we enter the main store. Immediately behind Starbucks was this small area of seasonal merchandise, showcasing some summer items to everyone as they entered. This small seasonal showcase was carved out of part of the clothing department.
Here's a look down the left side of the store, looking into the clothing departments. The poor placement of the support columns in the middle of the actionway is due to this building's past as Gold Triangle, as this building wasn't designed with Target's usual layout in mind.
Moving further into the clothing departments, we begin to see one of the most controversial aspects of Target's recent remodels (at least in the retail fan community - other people could probably care less about this): the gray walls. Up until now, Target was quite fond of using bright reds or other bright colors (as well as neon) on the walls. The gray is a radical change from that, leading the store to have a more modern, neutral, upscale feel. At the end of this post I'll give everyone my overall thoughts on P17, including what I think of all this gray. For now though, we'll continue our tour...
Here's a look down the store's center aisle, looking toward the housewares department. The addition of spotlights in the clothing department make this part of the store seem very bright.
The good ol' Fitting Ooms. There really wasn't much I could do to avoid getting that pole in my picture, as the pole was right up against the wall (curse you Gold Triangle!). Even with how close that pole was to the wall, someone still managed to squeeze the 'R' up there.
Now these are some fancy fitting rooms! In many of these remodeled stores, the fitting rooms are getting moved from the back corners into the center of the clothing department, however this store kept the fitting rooms in the original location. I also like the addition of the comfy chairs and the little waiting area out here - you don't see that often at the fitting rooms (at least in the stores I frequent).
Looking across the back of the store, men's clothing appears on our left, with more women's clothing on my right.
In the back of men's clothing, here's a look at that weird lower ceiling that runs across a portion of the back of the store. This weird ceiling is one of the very few signs that there's something odd about this building's past. I'm not sure if this change in ceiling height is something left over from Gold Triangle directly, or a product of Target's expansion of this building out the back in the early 2000's.
The recent remodel also brought some new shelving to Target's clothing departments, examples of which can be seen here. Some other Target stores that won't be getting remodeled for a while are getting separate remodels only to the clothing departments. Those remodels, called 'Innovation Remodels', bring the gray paint and new fixtures to the softlines side of the store, but leave the remainder of the store as-is with whatever decor was already there.
Moving away from the clothing, baby supplies and electronics are the next departments we come across.
Here's a look down the main center aisle that connects the front of the store with toys and electronics.
A sleek new electronics counter was installed as part of the remodel, visible under the 'Tech' sign. Speaking of the signs, P17's department signs are a direct carryover from Target's previous decor package, P13. P13 was essentially P09's wall decor with these signs, not really marking much of any change from its predecessors. P17 is one of the most radical decor changes Target has made in the last 15 years, switching from the primarily red themes to this gray one.
The back wall of the electronics department is home to the TVs, and one of the few accents of red walls remaining in the entire store. While the selection of TVs, phones, video games, and most other electronic gadgets and accessories didn't change much with the remodel, there was one category of electronics that got beaten down pretty bad...
...that category being movies and music. In these remodeled stores, Target features 2-3 aisles of music and movies, down from the usual 5-7 aisles most stores currently have after last year's toy department expansions.
While Target's selection of physical music and movie media has shrunk quite a bit, books however enjoy a large amount of floor space in these remodeled stores. My local Target has always had 2-3 aisles of books, which was about the same selection here.
Moving away from electronics, we now see the luggage and pet departments. On the right beyond toys is sporting goods.
The seasonal department is located in the back right corner of the building. While this part of the store has always been home to the seasonal department (at least since the expansion in the early 2000's), this department was rearranged during the remodel. The season's featured items (for example, patio furniture for the summer), get placed under those new hanging spotlights at an angle. The remaining aisles of seasonal merchandise extend out along the right side wall and the back wall.
Here's a look across this store's back wall, as seen from seasonal. Electronics is just barely visible in the background, but the splash of red on the wall makes it stand out from the rest of the store.
Leaving the back of the store, let's turn the corner and take a look at the grocery department:
Turning the corner, here's what we see as we enter the grocery department.
Wine and Beer gets featured on the wall over the coolers, the only wall-mounted department sign to be found in this store. Finding wall mounted signage like this is much more common in Super Targets.
Speaking of wine and beer, it seems like we just can't get enough of this stuff!
Now that we got our wine, here's a quick peek across the center store housewares aisles before we return to our grocery shopping...
In addition to the coolers along the side wall, an additional aisle of Frozen Foods was located amongst the grocery aisles.
Like any P-Fresh store, near the front of the grocery department we find the small selection of fresh foods. Here you can find a small selection of produce, baked goods, and meat, as well as some expanded dairy offerings. The fancy new lighting was working in my favor for this photo too, as I quite like how this one turned out! The wood-grained fixtures and decorations were all added as part of the remodel, as were the spotlights. Prior to the remodel, this part of the store would have looked like this. The addition of the gray floor tiles and the ceiling decoration make the P-Fresh selection look a little less blank than its predecessor did.
This case of dairy products to my right finishes out the grocery department. From here we can see across the front of this store, with cleaning supplies and health and beauty being the next departments we come across as we make out way back to the front of the store.
Front wall view, with the CVS Pharmacy counter visible in the distance.
Speaking of the CVS Pharmacy counter, here's a closeup of it.
Leaving the pharmacy, here's one last look toward the grocery aisles before we return to the front of the building...
Beyond the pharmacy counter and health and beauty we find the cosmetics department. The cosmetics department is designated by that funky round light fixture on my left, which we'll see in a closeup photo in just a moment. To my right are small appliances, kitchenware, and office supplies.
It looks like someone forgot to remove one of the old aisle signs during the remodel. But don't worry, I won't tell the manager about this! 😀
Relics aside, if we turn our attention to the other side of the aisle, here's a closer look at the re-imagined Target cosmetics department. The P17 remodel brought new lower shelves to this department, as well as plenty of accent lighting (including lighting from those circular light fixtures for a modern touch). While Target is going for a more department store-like feel with these remodels, none of the re-imagined departments at this store felt too out of place for a Target. However, this was one of the less intensive P17 remodels out there, so I can't speak much for the stores that got the fancier remodels.
Next to the cosmetics department was this fancy little area for men's grooming, complete with some fancy little display tables like the ones over in cosmetics.
Here's one last look into the main salesfloor before we proceed to the front end. One other thing I'd like to point out about these P17 remodels is in addition to all the upgraded fixtures, reset departments, and new paint, there is one other thing Target is adding in these remodels that I can't convey very well in a blog post: background music. For many, many years, Target has had a longstanding tradition that there be no background music, noise, pages, or advertisements in their stores. I can't recall a specific reason for that tradition, but I believe it had something to do with preserving a classier, less "mentally cluttered" ambiance in the store. In these recent remodels, Target has been adding speaker systems in the stores to play background music. I tried to take a short video clip of me walking around the store with the music playing in the background, but the clicking of the shopping cart I was pushing drowned out most of the background music in the clip. Oh well, but believe me, the music is there! (If you want, you can hum a little something as you scroll through the rest of these pictures to make up for my missing video clip!)
Now that we've covered all we can on the main salesfloor, it's time we cut our way through the front end as we head toward the exit. Here's a look at the front registers, which included 10 regular lanes and 4 self checkouts if I recall correctly.
For the P17 decor package, Target unveiled these new lane lights. These lights are glass panels with LEDs embedded between the pieces of glass, which make the number appear when turned on. Winn-Dixie's Green Interior has lane lights that use a similar concept. I personally think LED back-lit glass looks neat and has a nice modern feel to it, so I like these.
Moving up toward the Guest Service counter, here's a look toward the recycling bins and the registry kiosk. The 'Order Pickup' sign is a bit misleading, as you still have to go up to a person at the service desk just out of frame to the right to get your order, not that kiosk.
Here's the entirety of the Guest Service desk, complete with its very shiny new walls.
So there you have it - Target's new groove. So what do I think of the new era of Target you ask? It's not horrible. My one main complaint would have to be the gray walls, which just look pretty dull, especially with how few other accents there are throughout the store. If the walls were red or had more accent pieces I think I would like this new look much better. That being said, what Target did does look nice and cohesive, even if this wasn't the fanciest of remodels out there. Some of the really fancy Target remodels got things like curved aisles, fancy product displays, and even color-changing cafes! I'm sure those fancier stores give off a much different impression of Target's new look, but for now, this is the best we've got (at least on MFR!).
Anyway, we still have a few loose ends to finish up here at the East Colonial Target. Before we leave, let's take a look at that random trellis structure off to the side of the building:
On the far right side of the building we find this decorative trellis and some nice landscaping. While this seems like a random addition to this building, there's actually a reason why this is here. When Target opened this store, they placed their garden center in front of the building, right where the trellis stands now. Typically, Target garden centers were tucked onto one of the sides of the building, something that wasn't possible here due to the property layout and the building's past as another retailer. When Target shut down all their remaining garden centers in 2010, most were left to sit abandoned on the side of the buildings to which they were attached. The traditional garden center setup makes the abandoned garden centers mostly unnoticeable outside of a partially-covered over gate at the far end of the building. So when the garden centers closed, it wasn't as easy to hide this one from the public eye as it was for most other Target stores. As a means of getting rid of the obvious eyesore stuck on the front of this building, Target tore down the old garden center structure here and replaced it with this small garden and trellis, which looks much more appealing in front of the building than the abandoned garden center would have.
Here's a look toward the trellis from the front walkway, that randomly placed bicycle doing a good job of getting in my way though!
There's nothing like a morning walk under the Target trellis, right? Here's a look under the trellis at some of the landscaping. A small portion of Fashion Square Mall is visible in the background of this photo too, specifically the never-opened Orchard Supply Hardware store (again, a long story for another day). Fashion Square was my next destination after leaving Target (and my main photographic goal this particular day, as my trip out here came shortly after news broke of Fashion Square's seemingly inevitable demise).
Here's a look at Target's roadsign, this particular one facing Maguire Boulevard and Fashion Square. This sign was updated during the remodel to include Target's new lowercase font logo.
For some perspective, here's a look at the East Colonial Target from above (which I labeled in the above image). Fashion Square is visible to the right, where you can see the former Sears anchor in the process of being replaced with a new Floor and Decor store as well as that never-opened Orchard Supply Hardware. To the left of the Target is a rather large building, which I have a quick photo of below:
While that large building attached to Target is now split between Burlington and LA Fitness, this building was originally constructed in 1963 to house a Leeds store. Leeds was a local Orlando area catalog showroom store that once had 2 or 3 area locations, as well as a branch in Fort Lauderdale. Leeds would sell out to Service Merchandise in the 1980's, and with that sale all Leeds stores switched over to the Service Merchandise name. Service Merchandise would operate out of this building until that chain met its demise in the early 2000's. After Service Merchandise closed, this building was subdivided between LA Fitness, AC Moore, and OfficeMax. Eventually AC Moore and OfficeMax would close here by the early 2010's, with their spaces combined to make room for a new Burlington.
With my history of this place out of the way, that wraps up out look at the East Colonial Target! Now that we've seen some Target from the past and present, it's time we jump into something else. If all goes as planned my next post will be something a bit more timely in the realm of recent retail news, but we'll have to see how I feel when I start preparing my next MFR post.
So with that being said, that's all I have for now. Until the next post,